Each driver set his quickest time on the soft compound in dry and sunny conditions in Northamptonshire.
Bottas did 50 laps, completing aerodynamic testing early on and lapping consistently in the 1m32s bracket before moving onto setup work. He eventually got down to a 1m31.436s lap and will be running a race simulation in the afternoon session.
Max Chilton, driving the Marussia, completed seven installation laps before setting his first proper time of the day, a 1m38.596s.
The British driver eventually worked his way down to a 1m36.558s lap but the air valve system sensor on the engine malfunctioned towards the end of the session, bringing out the red flags and causing the Marussia to be returned to the pitlane on the back of a transporter.
Rio Haryanto will take over in the afternoon and is not expected to lose any time due to the failure.
Ma Qing Hua did 55 laps for HRT having never driven the new Silverstone Arena circuit before. He finished with a 1m39.462s lap having worked his way down from lapping in the high 1m50s bracket early in the day.
The Chinese driver will complete setup work in the afternoon after working with a base setup in the morning session.
1. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m31.436s
2. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.558s + 5.122s
3. Ma Qing Hua HRT-Cosworth 1m39.462s + 8.026s