Carlos Sainz has revealed to now feeling "completely at home" with his Ferrari and no longer "a first-year driver" following his Mexico City Grand Prix performance.
Sainz qualified sixth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and despite being boxed in at turn one following an incident involving Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, went on to finish in the position he started.
The Spanish driver feels his pace over the entire weekend, assisted by the Scuderia's recent update to its power unit that has played a significant role in recent results, was testimony to the fact he and the SF21 were finally working in perfect harmony.
"I would say I had 100 per cent feeling [with the car] for the first time since Austria [in July] or maybe another race that now I cannot remember," said Sainz.
"I wouldn't say I felt like a first-year driver in the car. I feel like I knew what the car was doing and I knew how to drive it perfectly.
"We've gone to other tracks and other situations where I have felt a bit rusty still, or a bit inexperienced.
"But to be honest, I felt completely at home and knew exactly what to do and how to drive it with the tyres etcetera. The pace showed it."
Sainz believes he also proved he is a team player, allowing Charles Leclerc through to claim fifth position after the Monégasque had stepped aside to allow his team-mate what ultimately proved to be a failed attempt at catching AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.
"I don't know if I need to prove it again," added Sainz. "I have proved it my whole career and I am comfortable with it.
"My experience in Formula 1 tells me, in a whole season, there are going to be two or three examples where team orders don't favour you but there are always two or three examples where team orders do favour you.
"Obviously, there are scenarios where the competitive side kicks in and it is difficult to play that role but my experience in Formula 1 tells me that in a full year, it ends up compensating you in one way or the other.
"You have to be calm mentally in those situations to accept whatever is happening and play the team role. Mexico proved it and there were other races, I think Austria, where it favoured me."
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