Toro Rosso's surprise new driver choice for 2014, GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat, made his Grand Prix début on Friday morning at the Circuit of Americas in the first of what will be a total of two FP1 appearances before the end of the current season.
Kvyat only successfully qualified for his FIA superlicense earlier this week, but he put it to immediate use in the United States by taking over the #18 car from normal incumbent Jean-Eric Vergne for the first practice session of the US Grand Prix weekend and went on to finish ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel in the timesheets.
However Kvyat was somewhat frustrated when the start of the session was delayed by 40 minutes, and was then shortened to just half its normal 90 minute duration as teams were forced to wait for the return of the medical helicopter after a period of heavy fog had left it stranded off-site. In the end, the 19-year-old was able to complete just 20 laps before the premature end of the session - but even so, that was far better than none at all.
"I think nowadays especially for rookies there is quite limited mileage in a F1 car so every lap counts," he said, adding that getting time in the car in Austin and Sao Paulo would enable him to get a head-start on learning the tracks for his maiden full season in 2014.
He added that it would be "really important to ... get the extra mileage in a F1 car and get to know the team as much as possible. So I can only see positives things in it so it's very useful for me and I think for the team as well."
Kvyat said that he didn't feel any undue pressure weighing down on his shoulders as a result of his meteoric rise to the ranks of F1 at such a young age after being singled out for greatness by Red Bull's motorsport advisor Dr Helmet Marko.
"He didn't tell me how fast he just said that I have to deliver! There is no time, there is no particular race where they expect me to do something amazing," he said.
"Everybody understands that there is a time, and I plan to try to get comfortable with the car as fast as possible," he explained. "It depends a lot in that, I think that's the most important part; to get confident with the car. From there on I can build."
And Kvyat insisted that while his appointment as successor to Daniel Ricciardo at the team, he himself felt that he'd absolutely earned his shot in 2014.
"It was a surprise, but not a huge one because I would say after Spa I started to believe and I was already told that there was a chance to get there," he revealed. "From there on I was told that I had to keep winning the races and every weekend I had at least a podium or a win, so promises have been kept and the call arrived."