Carlos Sainz has warned he's still not at "100 per cent" with this year's Ferrari and expects his form to "peak" during the second half of the 2022 season.
While he finished on the podium at the first two races, Sainz initially struggled to live with the pace set by teammate Charles Leclerc in the fight for pole positions and victories.
There were also several costly mistakes, such as a race-ending spin at the Australian Grand Prix, a qualifying shunt in Imola and another early-race mistake in Spain, prompting debate over the Spaniard's mindset.
However, recent events have yielded better performances and results, with Sainz's maiden F1 pole and win coming in Britain.
Sainz: I've been picking up some momentum
Assessing his season so far, Sainz expressed satisfaction at the progress he has made, but also feels there is more to come.
"I think we've been doing a better job these last few weekends," Sainz told Sky Sports F1 over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, prior to his engine-related retirement.
"I think since Monaco... Monaco was already a bit of a turning point, fighting there for pole position. Also in Baku, we fought pole. In Canada, we fought for the win.
"I've been picking up a bit of momentum. I wouldn't say I'm 100 per cent there yet. I think there's things still to improve, like we saw in the race in Silverstone.
"Definitely I feel a lot more in touch and like it could come anytime again soon."
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Sainz responds to his early-season critics
As for those who have already written off his title chances, Sainz pointed to how his previous seasons in F1 have developed.
"I say let's see at the end of the year," added Sainz, who sits fourth in the standings, 75 points adrift of leader Max Verstappen.
"I think it's still early. It was early when I finished P2 [at the season opener] in Bahrain and everyone said it's going to be an easy walk in the park for Ferrari.
"I said it when I was in my low moment in Barcelona after the spin in the race, and I say it now: it's too early still to tell and to say.
"I understand people that say [I'm not the championship-challenging Ferrari driver], because it hasn't been my easiest start of the season.
"But if you look closely to my last four or five seasons in F1, I've always peaked in the second half and I've always done a very strong second half, so let's wait and see."
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