Liam Lawson has finished 13th in a fast and frantic FIA Formula 3 practice session at the Red Bull Ring as the Kiwi set about to get on top of the tyre-related issues that hindered his season-opening campaign last weekend.
Despite missing out on the Top 10, the Red Bull junior showed plenty of promise across the 45-minute session, sitting comfortably within the top-five until the very end when several drivers set about on the qualifying sim runs.
Toyota Racing Series graduate Lirim Zendeli would top the session with a last gasp effort to be the only driver to break the 80-second barrier, narrowly edging out David Beckmann by 0.008s at the chequered flag.
Lawson spent the opening ten minutes in the pitlane as the Hitech GP outfit wrestled teething issues at the start of the sole practice session of the weekend.
Logan Sargeant headed the timesheets after 15-minutes as defending champions Prema locked out the top three positions with Race One winner Oscar Piastri and Federik Vesti in tow.
Zendeli was the first driver to experiment with the limits of the slippery Austrian circuit. The German pilot had a minor off-track excursion at Turn 7 before running wide again two corners later.
Lawson eventually made it out onto the circuit to complete his first timed laps with under 30-minutes on the clock while Hitech GP teammate Max Fewtrell remained sentenced to the pitlane after a gearbox problem left the British driver stuck in fifth gear.
After a handful of installation laps, the Kiwi lit the timing screens alight on his tenth lap to set a 1.21.088 and head the leader boards.
Though almost immediately David Schumacher became the first driver to break into the 1.20.9 barrier to lead Lawson by over two-tenth as the clocked ticked over into the final 15-minutes.
A late lap by Sargeant would see the Prema driver leapfrog himself back to the top of the standings just as Olli Caldwell obliterated the DRS board on the main-straight, showering the circuit in debris and having the field briefly neutralised under the Virtual Safety Car.
It left the 30-strong grid with one-lap to set their final competitive times of which Zendeli set a storming 1.19.994 to remain unchallenged at the chequered flag. A late lap by Lawson left him down the timing screens but the session highlighted plenty of promise on both long-runs and one-lap pace.
Lawson would end the session as the lead Hitech car with his teammates Fewtrell and Dennis Hauger coming home in 24th and 27th respectively.
The Kiwi now turns his attention to qualifying for the opening race of the weekend which is set to get underway from 12.05 am NZT.