Ferrari's Felipe Massa beat the two McLarens to the fastest time in Friday morning practice at Silverstone - despite the Brazilian sitting out the final third of the session after a heavy crash on oil at Stowe.
Massa was unhurt in the high-speed accident, which left his Ferrari with significant rear-end damage. He lost control on the oil dropped by Fernando Alonso's Renault, which expired on the approach to Stowe with half an hour to go.
Although the former champion stayed to the far left and immediately pulled onto the run-off, his ailing car left a trail of fluid on the racing line going into the corner.
Timo Glock provided an early warning when he ran wide on the oil, and then moments later Massa hit the slippery surface and snapped into a violent spin that took him straight into the barriers.
An 18-minute stoppage followed while the Ferrari was retrieved and the spilt oil covered with cement dust.
With much of the far end of the Hangar Straight covered with the white powder when the sessions finally resumed for the last quarter of an hour, track conditions were not conducive to rapid times.
That meant Massa remained at the head of the order despite his accident. He had hit the front a few minutes before the crash, producing a 1:19.575 lap to beat previous pace-setter Heikki Kovalainen, who had earlier swapped the advantage with his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.
Both McLarens managed to improve their times slightly late on despite the spillage at Stowe, with Kovalainen and Hamilton ending the session just 0.012 and 0.048 seconds behind Massa respectively.
Kovalainen had to make two late attempts after one potentially quick run was disrupted when he had to back off to avoid Giancarlo Fisichella in the complex, as the Force India rejoined after a quick visit to the Brooklands gravel.
Raikkonen stayed fourth at the end of the morning, while Robert Kubica took fifth for BMW on his second flying lap - his first attempt having been impeded by Massa, much to Kubica's chagrin.
Alonso was classified sixth despite his Renault's apparent engine failure, with his teammate Nelson Piquet taking eighth. The pair were split by Sebastian Vettel, as the young German put in another impressive practice performance for Toro Rosso.
After his retirement announcement yesterday, David Coulthard claimed ninth for Red Bull this morning, while Williams' Nico Rosberg completed the top ten.
While Massa's accident was by far the most dramatic of the morning, it wasn't the only incident. Glock rotated his Toyota in spectacular fashion on the way out of Brooklands early on, while Force India's Adrian Sutil held a wild ride over the grass through the Becketts complex, getting significantly airborne over some of the undulations in the run-off.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:19.575 8
2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:19.587 + 0.012 15
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:19.623 + 0.048 13
4. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:19.948 + 0.373 16
5. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:20.367 + 0.792 11
6. Alonso Renault (B) 1:20.436 + 0.861 7
7. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:20.588 + 1.013 18
8. Piquet Renault (B) 1:20.653 + 1.078 16
9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.698 + 1.123 16
10. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.744 + 1.169 27
11. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.892 + 1.317 10
12. Glock Toyota (B) 1:21.102 + 1.527 22
13. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:21.107 + 1.532 18
14. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.166 + 1.591 17
15. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:21.265 + 1.690 22
16. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:21.282 + 1.707 21
17. Button Honda (B) 1:21.901 + 2.326 7
18. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:22.169 + 2.594 16
19. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:22.219 + 2.644 19
20. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:24.123 + 4.548 4