• REPORT: Valtteri Edges Lewis on the Way to Fastest

Valtteri Bottas set the pace for the Silver Arrows on Friday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton right with him in P2.

'I think it was a good day'

Valtteri clocked a 1:21.406 on the SuperSoft tyre in the afternoon, ending the day +0.056s ahead of Lewis. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was a tenth further back in third for Ferrari.

"First of all it was nice that it stayed dry today because all the forecasts said that the rain could affect the running and we could have limited running before qualifying and the race in the dry," said Valtteri.

"But we got our full plan done. In FP1 we were actually ahead of the plan because we were still worried about the weather.

"I think it was a good day - at least I have a better feeling than I had after the Friday in Spa, everything started on the right foot. Initially in FP1 we went slightly in the wrong direction with the setup, but we managed to change it around for FP2 and the car felt a lot better.

"Overall, it was a positive day, the car is looking strong, but obviously it's the next two days that count."

'It's been a good day, a clean day'

Lewis set the pace in the morning, finishing opening practice nearly half a second clear of Valtteri. The three-time World Champion topped the timesheets with a 1:21.537s before a short shower of rain cut short the session.

"It's been a good day, a clean day," said Lewis. "We got the running done, we got through our programme with no problems. The car seems nicely balanced here.

"We just have some work to do to eke out a little bit more performance. It looks quite close between us and the Ferraris, so I anticipate it's going to be similar to the last race in that sense."

'It was a slightly unusual Friday'

While the threat of rain still looms over Qualifying, with rain forecast for Saturday, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison marked Friday down as a good start to the weekend.

"It was a slightly unusual Friday because the forecasts were quite pessimistic about the rain - overly pessimistic as it turned out," said James.

"It meant that we put quite a bit of what we would normally do in the afternoon into the morning session. Considering the slightly unusual nature of the day, we're quite pleased with the way it's worked out.

"Both drivers looked fairly competitive on both the long runs and the short runs. It's a very unusual circuit with unique downforce levels, but we looked to be in ok shape.

"There is a threat of rain for tomorrow, so all bets might be off for what we learned today, but it will be a dry race. So looking strong in the dry today is a good sign."