Lewis Hamilton runs wide onto gravel in second Italian Grand Prix practice

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"This is what I can promise to our tifosi".

Setting the mark in Monza, where Schumacher is still revered for having won five of his record seven drivers' championships with Ferrari from 2000-04, could provoke a odd reaction from the throngs of red-clad Ferrari supporters that attend the race each year.

"I think Ferrari look quite close, there is only one-tenth between us, but tomorrow we will have a good idea". We are looking forward and not backwards. "Maybe there was no chance in the last seven years", Vettel added.

Singapore on September 17 should suit him and Red Bull a lot more so if he can escape from Monza with a few points, that could set him up for a possible push for a first win of 2017 at the Marina Bay Circuit given the strong aerodynamics of the Austrian auto. This is simply due to teams taking so much downforce off the cars in search for high top speed speed gains down the many straights Monza has to offer.

Back in 2004, Juan-Pablo Montoya recorded the fastest lap in F1 history at the track - clocking an average speed of 162.95 miles per hour (262.24 kph) in a Williams vehicle.

Mercedes finished Friday's second practice session just 0.1s up on Vettel's benchmark. Working out the optimal race strategy is especially tricky at Spa as it has to be flexibl e: "the possibility of rain, safety cars, or even a red flag - as we saw past year - means that teams often have to react to changing circumstances rather than follow a fixed plan ".

"First of all it was nice that it stayed [generally] 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".

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Despite apparent struggles with his grip - even before the track was slickened by rain - Hamilton finished almost half a second ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas as both Mercedes drivers positioned comfortably in front of their rival Ferraris. "This is the narrative of the season".

On race pace, as in Belgium, there doesn't appear to be a lot between the two leading teams. "Mind is moving really fast right now". The Italian stable last won the drivers' title in 2007, courtesy of Raikkonen.

Ferrari's victory ahead of the summer break was exactly what this year's title race needed.

Historically there is little to choose between Vettel and Hamilton at Monza.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo kept the two-by-two formation going in fifth and sixth for Red Bull, although both come into the weekend with big grid penalties for various PU changes (20 places for Ricciardo and 15 for Verstappen).

Still, Vettel sounds confident Ferrari can give its fans something to cheer about at home this weekend and beyond.

Another said, "You cannot describe the passion, you can only live it".