Fernando Alonso trotted out his usual platitudes about it only being Friday practice, but the second practice session created a strong impression that the European Grand Prix will not be plain sailing for Red Bull Racing.
The Spaniard showed strong pace on both his short and his long runs, setting a fastest lap of 1:37.968 with Lewis Hamilton second and just two-tenths behind the leader.
Sebastian Vettel stepped on the gas in the afternoon to secure third spot after spending the morning experimenting with modifications in preparation for the rule changes that come into force at the British GP.
Relatively close to the front-runners was fourth-placed Michael Schumacher, just five-hundredths of a second behind Vettel, while Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg completed the top eight.
Reinforcing their credentials as team number five were Renault who took the remaining top 10 slots with Nick Heidfeld ninth and Vitaly Petrov 10th.
Short on luck was Paul di Resta. After Nico Hülkenberg had driven the car into a barrier during the morning session, di Resta was left kicking his heels until 10 minutes before the end of second practice. However, it took just a couple of laps for the Scotsman to reach P14.