(CNN) -- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Friday practice ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The 23-year-old German clocked a best lap of one minute 22.819 seconds, to go quicker than the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth on the timesheets, ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button, who led after the opening session.
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, who is Hamilton's nearest challenger in the world championship standings, completes the top six as the Red Bulls, Ferraris and McLarens once again showed they are a cut above their rivals.
Only Vettel and Alonso broke the 1:23 barrier on a day of warm sunshine, but Hamilton declared himself satisfied with his car.
Hamilton was quoted in the official McLaren press release: "We had two good practice sessions.
"This morning, in P1, we ran with the higher-downforce package, and the car felt good, but it wasn't as fast along the straights as we've experienced in the past."
Briton Hamilton goes into the race on 182 points, just three ahead of Webber. Vettel (151), Button (147) and Alonso (141) are still all in the running to become world champion.
Meanwhile, a latest survey in global F1 audiences has shown that the sport continues to draw increased viewing figures.
The IFM Sports Marketing Surveys global report shows that F1 viewing figures have increased by over six per cent in 2010.
This figure has been boosted by substantial increases in Central Europe and Russia, with the interest in Renault driver Vitaly Petrov likely to be one of the reasons for the upsurge in popularity.