Carlos Sainz gave Ferrari fans hope for a strong home weekend with the fastest time in second practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard set a benchmark lap time of 1:21.355 to outpace McLaren's Lando Norris by 0.019secs at Monza.
Sergio Perez was third for Red Bull but ended the session in the gravel after another confidence-eroding error late in the hour.
Slow-moving traffic in the middle and final sectors also ignited fears of safety issues before qualifying on Saturday, given similar issues led to contact in F3 and F2 qualifying.
Result Free practice 2 - Italian
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Lance Stroll triggered red flags within the opening five minutes when his Aston Martin ground to a halt with what the team labelled a fuel system issue, leaving the Canadian on the back foot ahead of the rest of the weekend having sat out FP1 to accommodate Felipe Drugovich's rookie run.
When teams switched focus to Soft tyre Q3 simulations, it was Sainz who took the fastest time ahead of Norris and Perez.
The Mexican should have taken confidence from outperforming teammate Max Verstappen but instead ended his session with a collision with the barriers at Alboreto - formerly the Parabolica.
Perez ran wide onto the gravel, pitching the Red Bull into a spin to trigger a second red flag with less than 10 minutes to go.
Oscar Piastri was fourth fastest having been heavily hampered by Lewis Hamilton at the Variante Della Roggia early on, with FP1's quickest driver Max Verstappen fifth.
The Dutchman was left frustrated by traffic issues after coming across a number of slow-moving cars in the middle sector to ruin his best effort - leaving the championship leader fuming over team radio.
Charles Leclerc was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of Alex Albon, who set his best time on Mediums for Williams.
Fernando Alonso finished eighth for Aston Martin ahead of George Russell and Nico Hulkenberg, who along with 11th-placed Kevin Magnussen provided optimism for an improved weekend for Haas.
Valtteri Bottas was 12th for Alfa Romeo, which overcame a troubled FP1, with Pierre Gasly again outside the top 10 for Alpine.
The Frenchman's teammate was 15th, with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda sandwiched between the duo. Logan Sargeant ended 16th ahead of Hamilton, who complained about the set-up of his Mercedes having lost six-tenths in the first sector alone early in the session - changes likely to be made overnight.
Liam Lawson was 18th fastest on the Medium tyre, with Zhou Guanyu 19th and Stroll without a completed lap.