Max Verstappen has praised Liam Lawson for a "calm and steady" FP1 appearance for Red Bull ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The New Zealander had already made two outings for AlphaTauri this season as part of the new obligatory rookie runs in free practice sessions now mandated by the FIA.
But Lawson was called upon for Red Bull at the Yas Island circuit after taking over development duties from Juri Vips following the Estonian's racism storm that saw him dropped shortly after his Spanish Grand Prix practice outing.
Lawson impressed by going just two-tenths of a second slower than Sergio Perez on a set of softs in the initial hour-long run.
After Verstappen took over behind the wheel of the RB18 for FP2, the two-time F1 champion set the leading time of the day, a third of a second quicker than Mercedes' George Russell.
When asked about his running, Verstappen said: "It was alright, to be honest. I think the car was in a very good window.
"Liam did a good job in FP1, just calm and steady so that is all that we want.
"In FP2, no real problems. The car was in a good window, we tried a few things and in the long run, the car was working quite well."
Red Bull struggled in last weekend's São Paulo Grand Prix sprint and the race after failing to find a set-up window to suit the Pirelli tyres.
But on whether there were early signs the team was ready to fight back against Mercedes this weekend, Verstappen replied: "Should be.
"Just very happy with how that session went for me. You always try to find a few things but overall it was good."