Ahead of today's sole practice session the air temperature is 26 degrees C, while the track temperature is 38 degrees. It is bright and sunny, with zero chance of rain.
Sainz set the pace in FP2 yesterday, the Ferrari proving every bit as fast as was anticipated and showing no sides of behavioural problems the drivers have reported at other circuits.
Lando Norris was second, however the Briton is playing down McLaren's hopes insisting that all is not what it appears.
Perez was third quickest, however the Mexican blotted his copybook with an off in the final stages of the second session, while Albon put his Williams an incredible seventh ahead of Alonso.
Unfortunately, the ATA that the sport is persisting with continues to compromise the amount of running the teams are doing and also how they use their tyres, so there is still no clear indication of the pecking order.
That said, Hamilton and Russell both claim that Mercedes will be hard-pressed to get into Q3, though over the years we have heard such claims before only for one of the Silver Arrows to claim pole.
One man who will be keen to get to work is Stroll who missed the opening session after the team handed his car over to Felipe Drugovich, and failed to complete a single lap in FP2 due to a fuel system issue.
The lights go green and Bottas leads the way, followed by Stroll, Hulkenberg, Norris and Sargeant.
As more cars emerge all three compounds are in use.
Norris and Hamilton are among the early risers.
Stroll posts a 25.587, but this is soon beaten by Sargeant, Ocon, Gasly and Perez (22.662), all of whom are on softs bar the Canadian who is on hards.
Hamilton goes second with a 22.955 on the softs.
A 22.515 sees Norris (softs) go top, as Sainz goes third and Leclerc sixth.
At seven minutes Verstappen heads out, leaving Albon and Piastri as the only 'no shows'.
Sainz is told to "mind the bump in Turn 10".
On his first flying lap Verstappen (softs) goes quickest with a 21.838, 0.677s up on Norris.
Perez responds with a 22.192.
Hamilton locks up and misses the first chicane.
Alonso goes eighth with a 22.901, the Spaniard on hards.
Though clearly struggling with his car, Hamilton goes third (22.279).
"What the f*** is Sainz doing," asks Tsunoda, after Leclerc impeded him on the main straight.
Verstappen ups the ante with a 21.687, as Albon goes ninth with a 22.874.
With 43 minutes remaining Piastri finally heads out.
Alonso improves to sixth with a 22.690 as Norris switches to the white-banded rubber.
"Aston guy dreaming again," says Hulkenberg as he has to avoid a mechanic in the pitlane.
Gasly goes quickest in the first sector but then backs off, as Piastri improves to sixth with a 22.617.
"Wind is picking up," Leclerc is advised.
On fresh softs Magnussen goes third with a 22.258. Tsunoda, on fresh hards, goes quickest in S1 before backing off due to traffic.
Talking of traffic, the race director has imposed a maximum lap time in order to prevent drivers taking liberties.
"For the safe and orderly conduct of the Event, other than in exceptional circumstances accepted as such by the Stewards, any driver that exceeds 1min 41sec from the Second Safety Car Line to the First Safety Car Line on ANY lap during and after the end of the qualifying session, including in-laps and out-laps, may be deemed
to be going unnecessarily slowly. For the avoidance of doubt, this does not supersede Art. 33.4 and Art. 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, which apply to the entire Circuit. Incidents will normally be investigated after the qualifying session."
On fresh mediums, Albon goes quickest in S1, going on to post a PB in S2. At the line he posts a 22.114 to go second, 0.427s down on Verstappen.
Told that the car behind is slow, Alonso replies: "Everyone is slow, they will have a bad surprise in qualifying," replies the Spaniard.
"Why are people so stupid, why can't they look in their mirrors," asks Norris of an Alfa Romeo driver, while teammate Piastri goes off at Turn 5. The Australian subsequently pits to have his car checked for possible damage.
As Zhou gets the black and white for impeding, Norris goes off at Turn 4.
Hamilton fits a set of fresh softs, as does teammate Russell, as the qualifying sims get underway.
Quickest in the first two sectors, Hamilton crosses the line at 21.453 - to go top - while Russell posts a 21.730.
On fresh hards - with an eye on Q1 when they will be compulsory - Ocon goes 14th with a 22.739.
Bottas (hards) goes eleventh and Zhou (hards) sixteenth.
On fresh softs Alonso goes fourth with a 21.798.
On fresh softs, Verstappen goes quickest with a 20.998, 0.455s up on Hamilton.
Perez' session appears to be over. The Mexican is out of his car which is being swarmed over by mechanics.
"I don't know how to find that half-a-second," says Hamilton of the gap to Verstappen.
Offs for Bottas at Turn 8 and Piastri at Turn 2.
On fresh softs, Leclerc goes quickest, while Sainz is quickest in S2. At the line Sainz posts a 20.912 while Leclerc after making a mistake at the second Lesmo, aborts and then pits.
Alonso improves with a 21.711 but remains fourth.
An incident involving Piastri and Sainz has been noted, causing a collision given as the reason.
Hamilton spins at Turn 4 but is able to continue.
Leclerc improves to fourth with a 21.486 as Lawson improves to twelfth.
A 21.985 sees Hulkenberg go eighth.
Sainz is shown the black and white for impeding Piastri, the Spaniard ridiculously slow in the first chicane causing the pair to touch.
"Mate, is Carlos blind or what?" asks the Australian.
The session ends. Sainz is quickest, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Alonso, Russell, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Albon and Perez.
Stroll is eleventh, ahead of Lawson, Tsunoda, Piastri, Sargeant, Bottas, Norris, Ocon, Zhou and Gasly.
An interesting session, and while we are still somewhat in the dark in terms of the pecking order, based on the evidence thus far, and the way that the tyres must be used in qualifying, we feel we could be in for a shock or two.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Monza here.