Carlos Sainz believes his outing at last Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix was his “most complete race” since joining Ferrari.
After starting 12th on the grid, Sainz made his way into 10th in the opening handful of laps.
He then took the Medium tyres 41 laps into the grand prix, and after making his one and only pit stop, he emerged in sixth, where he stayed until the chequered flag.
Despite scoring a podium earlier this season in Monaco, Sainz says his performance in Austria was his strongest yet for the Italian squad.
“I knew that the Mediums could do those 40 laps, I just needed to make sure I kept the tyres healthy for when I got clean air,” Sainz said.
“But to be honest, what I’m most happy about is the pace once clean air appeared. I think we managed to go down one second in lap time, we started to lap at a very competitive pace, even more competitive than McLaren and very close to the leaders.
“The car has been amazing, and probably, in general, just analysing it quickly, probably my most complete race since [joining] Ferrari.
“Just the whole pace management, tyre management, pace overall, it’s been one of the best overall, helped by the car performing well in the race. [I’m] quite proud about that one.”
Sainz added that his second stint was compromised due to being stuck behind second placed Lewis Hamilton, who was one lap ahead, which denied him the chance to close down Lando Norris for fifth.
“I was quite a bit quicker than him [Hamilton] but I also didn’t want to do anything stupid,” Sainz said.
“I know he is fighting for the championship, he’s P2 in that race, and I didn’t want to compromise his race either.
“At the same time I was getting a bit impatient because I could see we were not catching Lando, and that he was not going to lap Lando.
“At some point, together with my team, we found a way to transmit to Mercedes, it would be very nice of them if they could let us by.
“I got within DRS and he let me by and I could start chasing Lando again. I did lose 15 laps behind Lewis that were quite important for us to at least mount a charge and put Lando a bit under pressure.“