Motorsport: Kiwi Liam Lawson earns rave reviews for Formula One practice session with world champions Red Bull

Kiwi Liam Lawson has enjoyed another successful taste of Formula One, this time completing a practice with the world champion Red Bull team.

As part of new Formula One regulations, each team must designate two practice sessions to a junior driver over the course of the season.

Lawson, 20, subbed in for reigning world champion Max Vertsappen, getting behind the wheel of Red Bull's No.36 car.

Liam Lawson in the Red Bull cockpit.
Liam Lawson in the Red Bull cockpit. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

In an impressive display, Lawson put in the fifth-fastest lap time of the first practice session, finishing just over half a second behind seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, but ahead of former world champion Sebastian Vettell (sixth), driving his final weekend in Formula One.

Aside from Vettel - the third most successful driver in the sport's history - Lawson also clocked a faster time than F1 race winners Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

"It was a really cool experience today," he said. "it's the first time I've tested for Oracle Red Bull Racing during a Formula One weekend. 

"I was a little bit nervous before the session, but the car is really good, so I felt comfortable straight away. Today was a great day and I'm thankful for the opportunity."

Lawson's performance didn't go unnoticed, earning praise from Verstappen himself.

"Liam did a really good job in FP1," the world champion said. "He was calm and steady, which is exactly what we needed."

Saturday's opening practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Lawson's third, after also completing two sessions with sister outfit Alpha Tauri.

The Pukekohe native practiced with Alpha Tauri at the Belgium Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix earlier this year.

Lawson has fulfilled the role of reserve driver for both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri, after fellow junior driver Juri Vips was sacked mid-season for using homophobic language on a live stream.