Championship leader Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time in the second Friday practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, just beating McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel, who had a low-key morning session after finishing over 1.3sec off Hamilton, could not match the time set by the Briton in the opening session, however, finishing with a 1m24.010s. The Red Bull driver outpaced Hamilton by 0.036s, but the Briton looked set to go quicker than that before he was hit by traffic during his run of soft tires.
Michael Schumacher had a promising afternoon with the third quickest time in the Mercedes. Ferrari's drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso had a stronger session than in the morning, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Mark Webber was sixth quickest in the second Red Bull.
The afternoon session saw a much busier start than the morning one, with several drivers posting a time right away.
Sauber's Sergio Perez was the early pace-setter, before he was demoted to second before the 10-minute mark by Hamilton, who posted a 1m26.507s on his first run with the medium tires.
The first incident of the session also took place before 10 minutes had passed, when Sebastien Buemi went wide at Parabolica, the Toro Rosso driver crashing against the barriers. Although he was unhurt, the Swiss driver's car was heavily damaged and could not return to action. After that, Button shot to the top of the times with a lap in the 1m25s, with Webber moving to second less than two tenths behind the Briton.
Webber improved on the following lap to outpace Button, but it was teammate Vettel who took the top spot after 15 minutes when he stopped the clock at 1m25.635s, improving by over a second on the following laps as he completed a longer run.
It took until the 45-minute mark for Vettel to be demoted from first place, when Schumacher completed a run with the soft tires to set a 1m24.816s, improving to a 1m24.347s on the following lap.
Schumacher's time was closely matched by Massa, the Brazilian completing his first run on softs to finish just 0.019sec behind the Mercedes driver.
As more drivers began to use the softer Pirelli compound, the times continued to tumble, with Hamilton going quickest with 30 minutes left. Vettel's first lap on the soft tire was hindered by traffic, but the German still managed to move up to second behind the McLaren driver, who looked set to go even quicker on his second lap but nearly made contact at Parabolica with a very slow Jamie Alguersuari.
Vettel did manage to go quicker on his second lap of the run and jumped to the top with a 1m24.010s.
Daniel Ricciardo endured a difficult session after spending most of the 90 minutes in the garage as his HRT mechanics worked on the car. He managed just seven laps.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.010s 37
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.046s + 0.036 21
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.347s + 0.337 39
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.366s + 0.356 33
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.433s + 0.423 31
6. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m24.468s + 0.458 32
7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.508s + 0.498 30
8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.097s + 1.087 39
9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.182s + 1.172 37
10. Bruno Senna Renault 1m25.325s + 1.315 38
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m25.450s + 1.440 31
12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.496s + 1.486 39
13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.683s + 1.673 37
14. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.758s + 1.748 29
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m26.202s + 2.192 36
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m26.353s + 2.343 40
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.347s + 4.337 5
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m28.559s + 4.549 32
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m28.605s + 4.595 32
20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m28.804s + 4.794 25
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m29.162s + 5.152 34
22. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.184s + 5.174 29
23. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m29.622s + 5.612 34
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m29.841s + 5.831 7
All Timing Unofficial