Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button topped the times in the second practice session at Monza.
Less than four-hundredths of a second separated the two McLaren drivers at the top of the times. Behind them was Fernando Alonso a mere two-hundredths of a second slower.
But for the second session in a row the Ferrari driver’s running came to an early end. He coasted back to the pits with an apparent gearbox fault with more than 20 minutes remaining.
Alonso did not reappear, thereby missing much of the high-fuel running at the end of the session.
The top eight drivers were covered by little more than a quarter of a second, with Felipe Massa fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen and the two Force Indias.
Michael Schumacher, tenth, would probably have been up there with his team mate had he not had a fault with his DRS. It was one of several problems the team had to deal with including a loss of telemetry on Schumacher’s car and another DRS glitch on Rosberg’s.
Schumacher also had concerns with the track. He addressed FIA race director Charlie Whiting at one point, saying the speed bumps in the run-off at the Roggia chicane were a safety hazard. Schumacher described them as “ridiculous”, saying a driver could “break their spine” if they hit them at speed after a brake failure.
Both Red Bull drivers finished the session outside the top ten, with Jerome D’Ambrosio splitting the two RB8s in 12th place.
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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei