The Williams driver clocked a time of 1m 35.242s, just 0.006s quicker than Daniel Ricciardo's best lap for Red Bull.
“The car was very competitive during the race so today we have built on a very good platform,” reported Massa. “The test today was experimenting with some parts for future races as well as a little bit for next year.
“The car felt really good, so we know we will go to Hockenheim with a good car. The programme went to plan today and we didn't have any rain so it was a very productive day.”
Championship leader Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes after a busy session in which the team focussed on aero testing, brake cooling evaluations and engine system checks, plus set-up work.
“It's so valuable to do these test days; over a race weekend it's rare to get two runs in the day that are the same as tyres are getting old and conditions change but here we can always use new tyres, so we can really do some setup work that we don't normally get to do,” explained Rosberg.
“It was very useful and we learned a lot today. We will be able to use this information going into the next race.”
Adrian Sutil tested some new aero parts on his way to fourth for Sauber and afterwards declared himself pleased with his day’s work: “It was a good day, as I was able to do a lot of laps. In the morning everything worked well except for a small issue with the powertrain, which we were able to solve quickly.
“We worked a lot with the medium and hard tyres in order to understand them better. Besides that, we also worked on the set-up to improve the balance of the car. In the afternoon we tried different set-ups. So far we cannot say which set-up worked the best, but all in all it was a good day during which we went through our planned programme. At the end of the day we did short runs with the soft tyres, which was also helpful.”
Marussia's Jules Bianchi, who will drive for Ferrari on Wednesday, completed the top five. The Frenchman spent the day doing development work for Pirelli, but his running was curtailed by a small fire underneath his MR03’s bodywork in the afternoon session.
McLaren test and reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, having his second run of the year in the MP4-29, was sixth fastest, just ahead of the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Jean-Eric Vergne clocked the eighth fastest time of the day, but after a productive morning his afternoon was compromised as Toro Rosso ran into technical problems whilst shaking down some new energy store batteries.
Pastor Maldonado was ninth fastest for Lotus, just ahead of the Ferrari of Pedro de la Rosa. Ferrari, like Marussia, focused purely on tyre development work for Pirelli on Tuesday, however the Spaniard’s running on prototype 2015 tyres was brought to a premature end by a coolant leak.
“It was great to be able to drive the actual car after so much work in the simulator, especially at a track like Silverstone,” said De la Rosa.
“I think today was very useful both for me and for the team. We worked a lot on race simulation, always running with a high fuel load, so as to understand as much as possible about the new tyres. We learned a lot and even if I can’t make a direct comparison to this year’s tyres, the feeling I got is that they do represent a step forward.”
Completing the timesheet was young British driver Will Stevens in the Caterham.
“I’ve done a lot of mileage already this year in the 2014 car but all in the simulator, so it was really good to be in the real car and to have a decent day at Silverstone,” he said.
“The morning session was a bit stop/start as we had a few software issues that needed fixing, but we still completed 71 laps by the time we stopped break and by then I was increasingly comfortable in the car.
“By the end of the day we’d completed 13 runs with a total of 95 laps and have a lot of data for the guys back at the factory to work through. I know the plan tomorrow for Julian and Rio is similar so hopefully we can have another productive day and leave Silverstone on a positive note. After my day today that’s exactly what I’m going to do!”
Testing concludes at Silverstone on Wednesday when Lotus will be demoing Pirelli's prototype 18-inch tyres.
Unofficial Tuesday times from Silverstone
1. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1m 35.242s, 42 laps
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 35.248s, 71 laps
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 35.573s, 89 laps
4. Adrian Sutil, Sauber, 1m 35.674s, 73 laps
5. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 1m 36.148s, 108 laps
6. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m 36.462s, 71 laps
7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 36.583s, 79 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1m 36.688s, 28 laps
9. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1m 37.131s, 97 laps
10. Pedro de la Rosa, Ferrari, 1m 37.988s, 49 laps
11. Will Stevens, Caterham, 1m 40.627s, 95 laps