Carlos Sainz has declared the Russian Grand Prix his "best weekend" with Ferrari after scoring his third podium finish of the season.
Sainz has bedded in well at Ferrari after his winter move from McLaren, scoring three of the team's four podium finishes this year, but he believes his performance in Sochi was on another level.
After getting the jump on pole sitter Lando Norris, Sainz led for the majority of his first tyre stint and finished up third after making the right strategy calls and switching tyres at the right time when the rain came down in a chaotic finish.
“It is my best weekend with Ferrari, definitely,” he said. “I think I managed to put a very strong weekend from practice into Q3 and then a good start and good pace management in very tricky conditions.
“I am proud of the weekend, I think the team has also done a very good job with all the pit stop calls on Saturday, going onto the soft tyre at the right time, and in the race taking out the medium tyre at the right time and putting the inter on at the right time.
“Perfect is a very strong word, there is always things you can improve when you look back so perfect is not the right word, but my most complete weekend? Yes, it is."
Sainz benefitted from change in approach
Sainz jumped above team-mate Charles Leclerc in the championship standings thanks to his 18 points from Sunday’s race, putting him sixth in the table, just 7.5 points behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
It was his second podium in five races, extending his points-scoring run to eight, but he revealed that he made a decision to change his approach ahead of the race in a bid to extract more out of himself and the car.
“This weekend, I made a conscious effort to take it step by step, through free practice, into quail, and being fast when I need to be fast instead of being fast straight away in FP1,” he said.
“It has worked well, it has given me good confidence, I have been quick all weekend and I am feeling at home.”
He conceded, however, that finishing third after leading the race “doesn’t taste as good."
He added: “We need to keep working as a team to make sure that the next time we are in a position of leading a race we need to win the race and we don’t suffer as much as we suffered with graining and we were not so good on the straights.
"We need to keep improving as a team to make it stick next time.”