Liam Lawson participated in his third free practice session of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Friday, but it was the first time he did so with Oracle Red Bull Racing.
The New Zealander’s first two outings had been with sister team Scuderia AlphaTauri, but he took the place of reigning two-time World Champion Max Verstappen for the opening hour at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday afternoon.
Lawson completed twenty-two laps of the Abu Dhabi track and placed an impressive fifth fastest, just over two-tenths of a second down on the best time set by regular race driver Sergio Pérez.
And before he focuses on what is likely to be his final FIA Formula 2 event before he moves to the Japanese-based Super Formula championship in 2023, Lawson was thankful for the opportunity gifted to him by Red Bull to allow him track time in the championship-winning RB18.
“It was a really cool experience today, it’s the first time I’ve tested for Oracle Red Bull Racing during a Formula 1 weekend,” said Lawson. “I was a little bit nervous before the session, but the car is really good so I felt comfortable straight away.
“We managed to get quite a lot of laps in on both the hards and the softs, at the moment there’s a big jump between the two tyre types. It was great to get the opportunity to try out the softs.
“I drove the AlphaTauri in Mexico but it’s difficult to compare the two as Mexico is a completely different track and at a much higher altitude.
“Today was a great day and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”