Carlos Sainz feels that Ferrari's improved race pace at the Italian Grand Prix highlighted one of the team's strengths amid a "difficult" second half of the season.
The Scuderia have found themselves losing further ground to Red Bull at recent races, with the Milton Keynes-based squad now 139 points ahead in the standings with six Grands Prix remaining.
However, Ferrari had a slightly better weekend at their home event. Charles Leclerc finished P2 behind winner Max Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz worked his way up to fourth, having started from the back of the field due to an engine penalty.
Speaking after the race, Sainz admitted that it was too soon to tell whether the increased pace marked a genuine turnaround or whether it was track-specific.
"We don't know the final conclusions on where the race pace [is] coming from," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"We need to keep improving. For sure, the car was better this weekend, both in race trim and [qualifying] trim, so I think we've taken a step towards getting to know that and that knowledge."
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Sainz praises Ferrari for "maturing" through season
Ahead of F1's return to Italy, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto had voiced his expectation that it could prove to be a tough race for the team.
When asked how the squad had managed to turn things around and display a stronger pace than had been anticipated, Sainz credited their progress throughout what has been a challenging second half of 2022.
"[It was a] good reaction from a team that is maturing," the Spaniard explained.
"I think that [the team are] learning a lot from this difficult year, and I think [the team] has done a massive step compared to last year, in terms of putting [ourselves] back into winning contention.
"But we're still doing mistakes, or we're still learning. It's a young team, I think, and we are young in working together.
"I think there's been progress this year, even though it's [been] a difficult second half of the season. I think we're going to take a lot of knowledge from this to attack in the last few races, and to go for it next year again."
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