Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned Ferrari the Silver Arrows are ready to pounce if the Scuderia continue to "drop the ball often".
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton benefited from Ferrari's disastrous reliability in Baku to finish third and fourth as the Scuderia registered a first double-DNF of the season and a first for 13 years due to a lack of reliability.
The result pushed Mercedes to within 38 points of the Maranello-based team in the constructors' standings, with Russell leaping Sainz to fourth in the drivers' race.
"When your car is not super-competitive with the front guys, [it is about] maximising those points," said Wolff. "It is important to consolidate and make sure that you are no worse than third.
“But equally, you see the situation at Ferrari. If they drop the ball often then we are there.”
Asked of Russell's continued top-five presence in all eight races, Wolff added: “He is very solid in bringing top positions in and he has been on the podium a few times and Lewis has been there."
Mercedes on its toes with reliability concern
Mercedes is the only team to have finished all eight races this year with both cars.
But Wolff refuses to let the team get ahead of itself, explaining, “You always need to be on your toes with reliability because you need to score the points and not only be fast.
“I mean, I feel for the Ferrari guys because they have a super-powerful engine and a good car, but in the end, losing so many points makes you lose the championship.
“You need to be always wary, and we are because the car could still stop at any time.”