Fernando Alonso topped the times for Ferrari, but Lewis Hamilton remained the centre of attention after Friday afternoon's second free practice for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
The two-time champion Spaniard clocked a best lap of one minute 14.818 seconds around the hazardous, bumpy and challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve midway through the 90-minutes to come out on top.
He outpaced nearest rival and Montreal specialist Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by 0.012 seconds as Ferrari bounced back from their disappointment at the Monaco Grand Prix where Alonso was stranded in seventh place.
Hamilton, a three-time winner in the Canadian race, also showed his potential as he wound up second fastest ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus, Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull and his own Mercedes team-mate German Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg had been fastest throughout the Monaco weekend as he claimed his third successive pole position, but this session suggested Hamilton, on a track that favoured his late-braking style, might prove to be back on top in their private intra-team duel for supremacy.
Hamilton himself did not think so, however, as he reflected on the session. "It was OK, but it was just a normal day. I think it's good that it dried up.
"The harder tyre seems to be a bit harder to get temperature into it, but otherwise we don't seem to have too much degradation or graining so I think it is ok."
He made no direct comment about the braking issues that had been causing him concern and made it difficult for him to feel 'at one' with his car.
He had been more forthcoming earlier in the day after being 16th quickest in the rain-hit opening practice session topped by Britons Paul Di Resta of Force India ahead of Jenson Button of McLaren, Hamilton's former team.
He revealed then that it was the first time in his entire racing career that he had lacked total confidence in the braking system of his car.
"I have never in my life had any brake problems, even since I was five years old when I first drove a car," said Hamilton. "I have never had a brake issue in confidence with the brakes.
"This is the first time I have had that experience. It definitely catches you a little bit off guard."
Brazilian Felipe Massa, back racing after his two big accidents in Monte Carlo, was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of defending triple world champion German Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull, German Adrian Sutil of Force India, 2009 champion Button and Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, was down in 11th in the second Lotus ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez in the second McLaren and Di Resta, on the weekend when Force India celebrate entering their 100th Grand Prix under that name.
The teams all tested new development tyres supplied by Pirelli for assessment purposes this weekend, as well as the normal 'medium' and 'supersoft' tyres.
Webber said: "I think they were pretty good. It would have been good to have more running on them, but they seemed fine... But I think we'll have to take a look at the Mercedes data from Barcelona and go from there..."
Mercedes have been summoned to appear before the International Tribunal of the sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), following allegations that they conducted an illegal in-season test for Pirelli last month. Red Bull and Ferrari both lodged protests at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery, who was due to appear at a news conference on Friday, decided late on to withdraw after taking advice from Pirelli lawyers.