Carlos Sainz believes he has made something of a breakthrough in his quest to get on top of his new Ferrari F1-75 and join the World Championship fight.
Sainz was open in admitting that he started the season on the backfoot against teammate Charles Leclerc, having followed the Monegasque over the line at both the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
It was Red Bull's Max Verstappen who took the chequered flag first in Jeddah, after coming out on top following another close battle with Leclerc during the final laps.
Once again, Sainz could only watch the fight unfold on the horizon, unable to get involved in the tussle for the lead himself.
But he leaves Saudi Arabia happy with his third-place finish, and has warned Verstappen and Leclerc that there is plenty more to come as he prepares to push for the title.
"I was happier than in Bahrain, definitely. There's been a bit of progress done from my side of the garage with the feeling of the car," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
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Sainz has picked up big points, despite his struggles
Despite having been behind Leclerc on track consistently during the opening two rounds of the new season, Sainz has ensured that he has picked up big points in both races.
He leaves Jeddah second in the World Drivers' standings on 33 points (12 behind Leclerc and eight ahead of race-winner Verstappen) and feeling as though progress has been made.
Sainz continued: "Having the opportunity to come back to this track, only 100 days after we were here with last year's car, has given me a much clearer picture of the type of corner and the two or three corners that I'm still lacking with this car.
"It's quite clear for me now. It has given me a great opportunity to understand fully the magnitude of how much I need to adapt and how much I need to get the car a bit more to my liking, and I felt like, today, we did a small step in the right direction.
"While I'm still not 100 percent with the car, to keep bringing the points and the podiums is important until I get back to 100 percent – and then it will be time to join these guys at the top for the fight."
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