Norris qualified eighth for his debut, and after running 10th in the early stages was stuck behind the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi in the first part of his second stint.
This allowed Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly to jump him, meaning he finished the race 12th.
"He did a great job overall," de Ferran told Motorsport.com. "He really didn't put a foot wrong the whole weekend.
“A lot of control and discipline, he peaked when he had to pace-wise in qualifying, and in the race we were just unfortunate with the Giovinazzi train.
"Other than that I think he managed himself really well and frankly drove like a veteran in many ways.
“He had both to attack and defend during the race, had to manage his pace and the tyres and I think he did that very well."
Lando Norris, McLaren
Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images