George Russell was feeling distinctly upbeat after a decent start to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Friday.
The Mercedes driver was quickest in first practice, which featured a record number of young drivers standing in for their full-time counterparts, including Fred Vesti taking over at the wheel for Lewis Hamilton.
Russell was one of those not to be sidelined for the session and with many of his usual rivals not on the track he was able to top the times with a lap of 1:26.072s.
He was also quickest in FP2 when the red flags came out for Carlos Sainz. With over half the hour long session lost to track repairs from Sainz and a second subsequent spin for Nico Hulkenberg, Russell ended the day in sixth.
"That was a relatively positive Friday for us," Russell commented later. "There were a lot of rookie drivers out there on track in FP1, so we didn't get a completely clear gauge of where our relative pace was
"FP2 was clearly an interrupted session," he continued. "So again, we couldn't get a read on where we were stacking up against our competitors or a true picture of where our pace may be.
"Nevertheless we have a lot to review overnight," adding that Vesti's FP1 outing would also be beneficial. "Fred did a good job for the team and we got a lot of useful data to look over.
"That will hopefully put us in a good place to finish the last race of the season on a high, so I'm excited going into tomorrow."
"George had a clean FP1," commented Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes' head of trackside engineering. "We were missing a lot of the reference cars, so we weren't reading too much into the timesheets.
"We were able to get a read on high and low fuel balance and made some changes going into the evening session," he continued.
Shovlin said that the interruptions to FP2 had been a particular nuisance to Lewis Hamilton as it meant he ran only 16 laps on Friday compared to a total of 44 laps completed by Russell.
"The second session was badly compromised by the red flags. That was clearly felt most by all those drivers who sat out FP1, and Lewis was understandably frustrated not to be able to get more laps in," he said.
"FP2 was a very frustrating session for me, and I suspect for all the drivers out there," confirmed Hamilton.
"We got very little running in the end, and a lack of consecutive laps too, which is what we most want to achieve on a Friday.
"On the laps we did do, the car felt OK. The grip felt good and there are a few things we will look at overnight to see what we can improve.
"It was a shame we didn't get more running, but we will look to make up for that in FP3 tomorrow."