Kimi Raikkonen's morning time remained the fastest of the day, but he struggled with the setup in the second session. Felipe Massa was third in both 90 minute sessions but was lucky to avoid contact in a high speed lose.
Lewis Hamilton was second quickest in the morning and easily the fastest in the afternoon, while teammate Heikki Kovalainen was fourth in both sessions. "Both made solid starts to the weekend and are pleased with the balance of the car," said Ron Dennis.
Mark Webber was consistently the main non-Ferrari or McLaren protagonist on Friday, but his second place in the afternoon was aided by a low fuel load. David Coulthard had a gearbox problem in the morning and was fifth in the final session.
Jarno Trulli ended his day in the gravel but with the seventh best time, and Timo Glock – who had a morning wheel bearing problem – was not far behind.
Fernando Alonso's day started reasonably but he had dropped to thirteenth in the afternoon. Nelson Piquet had a miserable start to his F1 career, bringing out the red flags with a morning spin that broke his gearbox, and woefully slow when his car was running.
Nick Heidfeld broke down in the morning, but both he and teammate Robert Kubica seemed unable to deliver their promise of staying F1's third force, even if other teams were undoubtedly flattering to deceive with low fuel runs. Heidfeld asked observers to "be patient until tomorrow" before assessing their pace.
A disastrous morning left both FW30s quiet with gearbox problems, before Nico Rosberg's eighth while carrying a failed differential in the afternoon compared with Kazuki Nakajima's distant sixteenth. "I think we have a good base and we haven't seen the best of it yet," Rosberg said.
Giancarlo Fisichella's afternoon ninth (twelfth in the morning) was the surprise of the day, while Adrian Sutil survived a morning hydraulic leak and settled closer to the customary back of the pack.
Sebastian Vettel had the edge over rookie teammate Sebastien Bourdais, who lost time with a problem in the afternoon, as they settled in the midfield in the morning and ultimately closer to the rear.
Buried in the lower midfield pack with the RA108, Jenson Button consistently had a few tenths in his hand over Rubens Barrichello on Friday. "We aim to be in the middle of the pack tomorrow," the Brazilian veteran said.
Predictably miles off the pace with effectively last year's Honda limited to a curtailed practice program after a winter of uncertainty. Anthony Davidson could not keep up with Takuma Sato in the circumstances, which included a car design that regularly tried to overheat.