Ferrari is on the road to recovery after enduring its worst Formula 1 campaign in 40 years last season when the Scuderia finished sixth in the constructors' championship and comfortably adrift of the midfield 'fight for third'.
With a new power unit introduced this year, the improvements were evident across the opening weekend as Leclerc finished sixth and Sainz eighth.
Leclerc said: "It’s a nice start and a good feeling and I am reasonably happy with the race. I cannot be extremely satisfied with P6, but at the end of the day, we need to look at where we were last year and it’s clear we have made good progress.
"I had a very good start. I found myself in third place and managed my tyres quite well in the first stint.
"I think there was probably a bit more left in them, but we had to stop and try to push the others towards different strategies, which was the right thing to do, but it might have cost us a little bit in terms of pace at the end of the race."
On the other side of the garage, Sainz conceded the race was more about banking laps in the car after completing only one-and-a-half days of running in a shortened pre-season testing schedule.
With this in mind, the Spaniard believes he was perhaps overly cautious especially towards the start of the race.
"It was very important for me to complete all the laps and keep building experience with the car," he reflected.
"Maybe that’s the reason why this time I didn’t take too many risks at the start and it cost me a couple of places.
"I was curious to see how the car reacted in the dirty air of a race start and I knew I would have the opportunity to fight back once I got into my rhythm.
"Once the race settled a bit, I started pushing lap by lap and I think we showed a very strong pace with the medium tyre and especially with the hard tyre during the last stint. I also managed to pull off some good overtakes.
"Today I’m happy for the work we have been doing the entire weekend. Ferrari wants more. I want more. But it has been a promising start and we’ll keep pushing to get there."
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