Vettel jumped to the top of the time sheets just after half an hour in having switched to the medium compound tyre and there he stayed until a worrying puncture ended his session at Turn 15 with little over 20 minutes remaining.
The Caterham of Giedo van der Garde then slewed into the barriers after leaving the circuit at exactly the same point, as the session ended with an element of drama.
Whilst Vettel’s puncture was not as severe as the delaminations of Silverstone, replays seemed to confirm it happened when he ran over the kerbing on his 11th lap on the medium tyre.
Romain Grosjean was third quickest in his Lotus ahead of Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso but there was disappointment for Lewis Hamilton, who complained about the balance of his Mercedes before finishing 12th.
After rain disrupted the opening practice session, teams were able to immediately run on the harder compound in the afternoon before switching to the softer rubber.
Webber was the first of the front runners to make the switch to the white banded medium tyre and he jumped to the top of the sheets before Vettel bettered his mark minutes later. Red Bull then switched strategies with Vettel conducting longer race simulation runs on the softer compound and Webber on the harder rubber.
Behind the Red Bulls, Lotus looked competitive with Grosjean ahead of Massa on the time sheets although the team opted to abandon its passive DRS session that appeared ineffective in FP1. Vergne surprised in setting the fifth fastest time from Raikkonen and Alonso, who only tried a handful of laps on the medium tyre.
All eyes will now be on Pirelli for the remainder of the weekend despite two untroubled outings in Germany and Hungary with the new Kevlar belted rear tyres.