Charles Leclerc pipped Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in second practice at Monza to retain top spot as Ferrari continued to set the pace around its home circuit.
Ferrari, who come off the back of claiming its first win of 2019 at Spa, is favourite to triumph on home soil for the first time in nine years due to its cars straight-line speed advantage.
Leclerc was fastest in a wet first practice session where conditions proved to be a real handful, as the session was curtailed by three red flag stoppages for separate incidents.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first casualty, suffering a sudden snap on the rear of his Alfa Romeo around Parabolica that saw him take a heavy hit into the barrier.
Sergio Perez too spun around but hit the barriers with much more force that caused terminal damage on the left-front corner and rear wing on his car.
A threat of rain in FP2 prompted drivers to head out on track to try and gather as much data in dry conditions. From those early runs, Leclerc topped the timesheets as the only driver to dip onto the 1:20s, with Vettel two-tenths adrift.
Mercedes were just under a second off the pace on the first timed runs, but the Brackley-based outfit trialed a tow that it could use to increase top speed to aid its chances of pole position in qualifying.
The tactic worked in Hamilton’s favour as he used the slipstream from team-mate Valtteri Bottas to split the Ferraris.
Lando Norris’ session was severely hampered by an oil leak on his McLaren that saw him miss a chuck of track time. The 19-year-old will join Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly at the back of the grid with engine penalties.
Despite the constant drizzle of rain throughout practice, teams were able to gather a substantial amount of data in race trim.
Leclerc’s lap time would go unmatched to round off a promising Friday for the Scuderia, as Hamilton took second ahead of Vettel in third.
Both Red Bull’s of Verstappen and Albon were fifth and sixth respectively, with the upgraded Honda power unit showing promise despite Monza’s long straights.
Gasly was best of the rest behind the top three teams, edging out fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who was eighth fastest in the Haas.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed the ninth-fastest time, as the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10.