Theo Pourchaire set the fourth quickest time for ART, ahead of his title rival Frederik Vesti, who ended up in P18.
After a delayed start, a flurry of cars joined the Monza circuit for the 45-minute practice session and completed their installation laps.
MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala topped the timesheets 10 minutes into the session with a 1:42.869.
The times began to tumble as Dennis Hauger achieved a 1:35.012, a couple of tenths of a second quicker than fellow Red Bull Junior slotted into P2.
On a clear day at Monza, MP and Rodin Carlin set the pace early on as the two teams locked out the top four positions.
Enzo Fittipaldi explored the limits of his Rodin Carlin on the exit of the Della Roggia chicane, wrestling a snap of oversteer with half an hour to go.
PREMA driver Ollie Bearman became the first to break the 1:34 barrier, setting a 1:33.714, going fractionally faster than the reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Martins.
Fittipaldi found himself stranded in the pit lane with mechanical trouble, losing out on critical track time during the weekend’s only practice session.
Martins usurped Bearman at the front of the field and was quickly followed by Verschoor and 28-year-old Roy Nissany.
All 22 drivers ran the yellow sidewall medium tyres, as a few lap times got deleted for track limits.
Martins improved his best effort to set a 1:33.165, as the championship leader Pourchaire moved into second place to create an ART 1-2.
With 20 minutes remaining, the Alpine Academy driver continued to hold the fastest time ahead of Pourchaire.
Ayumu Iwasa endured a quiet session; the Japanese driver sat in 12th place, just behind Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan.
Daruvala locked his front left tyre at Turn 4 and ran wide but rejoined after skipping through the runoff area. The Indian driver sat in P19.
Bearman sat in fifth place and brushed the gravel at the Della Roggia chicane and Ascari on the same, ragged lap as the session approached the final 10 minutes.
Looking to recover from a lacklustre outing at Zandvoort, Iwasa improved to second place with eight minutes to go for DAMS.
In the session’s closing minutes, Pourchaire shadowed his title rival, Mercedes Junior Vesti, around Monza at the start of the vital weekend for the championship.
Hauger pirouetted his MP Motorsport machine at Curva Alboreto after touching the gravel and stalling his Mechachrome engine with two minutes to go.
The session was brought to a premature end after the Norwegian’s spin as Martins topped the session ahead of Iwasa and Dutchman Verschoor.
The top 16 drivers were separated by under a second as F2 remained a highly competitive championship at Monza.
Image: @FFSportAuto – FML