Running on soft tyres, Hamilton was 0.222s ahead of Bottas, who will start at the head of the field for F1’s second-ever sprint race at Monza on Saturday afternoon.

Max Verstappen was third-quickest on the medium compound, 0.416s down on his main championship rival as he headed Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

Verstappen heads into this weekend’s Italian GP holding a three-point advantage over Hamilton after back-to-back victories in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The final 60-minute practice session was interrupted by a red flag following a hefty shunt for Sainz, who lost control of his Ferrari at the Ascari chicane and speared into the barriers on the left-hand side.

Sainz walked away from the incident unscathed and has been preliminary cleared during initial checks at the track medical centre after his head was seen moving violently in the impact.

“I had a massive crash”,” the Spaniard reported over team radio, before adding: “That hurt a bit, but I am okay.”

The incident caused heavy damage to the front-end of Sainz’s Ferrari and leaves his mechanics with a big repair job just hours to go before the sprint qualifying race, the results of which will determine the grid for Sunday’s main grand prix.

Esteban Ocon was fifth-quickest for Alpine, ahead of the Alfa Romeo pair of Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Fernando Alonso finished eighth ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly - last year’s shock race winner at Monza - while Lando Norris completed the top 10 in his McLaren.

Full results from second practice for the 2021 F1 Italian Grand Prix.