Although much of the emphasis on them is concerning matters off the track, McLaren at least did what they do best during practice for the Italian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso coming away with the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session.

While spying and scandal have been the buzzwords in the McLaren corner of the paddock at Monza, Alonso and Hamilton put that behind them as they unleashed an ominous warning to Ferrari on home ground.

Indeed, while they had to give way to Ferrari in the first practice session, Alonso in particular blew the competition away in the afternoon to finish it eight tenths up on Hamilton, despite having missed plenty of running in the morning with a steering problem.

Claiming much of the work had been done during the test at Monza last week, Alonso even hints that there is still plenty more speed to come from the package.

"Today went really well. We had a good idea of our performance from the test last week, and although the conditions have changed slightly since then, we were able to get an understanding of the set-up for the race, and I am happy with how the car felt.

"I missed a little time in the morning session when the team were fixing a small problem with my steering, but it didn't really make too much difference to our overall results."

Hamilton meanwhile also expects more pace to come from his car ahead of qualifying as he seeks to maintain his championship advantage over his team-mate.

"We went through our usual set-up and Bridgestone Potenza tyre comparison work and now have a good understanding of our competitiveness this weekend. The car feels really good to drive round here, and we have already made some good steps forward today.

"However you never know what everyone else is doing, so we will be looking for further improvements before qualifying tomorrow."