Carlos Sainz has dismissed speculation that Ferrari developments aided his progress after a tough start to the season.
The Spaniard has not shied away from his early-season difficulties in F1's new regulatory era despite having secured a podium in the first two races of the campaign.
Retirements in Australia and Emilia Romagna, both seeing Sainz left in the gravel before the third lap of each race, left him on the back foot in the championship race.
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But Sainz found performance as the season wore on, picking up a maiden pole position and victory at the British Grand Prix.
The margin between Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc closed towards the latter stages of the year, providing hope that the duo could launch a double-pronged attack for the championship next season.
But faced with speculation that his improvement was through Ferrari developing the SF-75 in his favour rather than personal improvements, the 28-year-old said: “I’ve read this somewhere, where the car developed more towards my style and I think it’s completely wrong.
"The car feels exactly the same as the start of the season, we are just less quick compared to the Red Bulls and the Mercedes.
“I just learned how to drive it. I changed my driving style.
“Personally, I finetuned the set-up a bit more towards my liking but the car didn’t develop in my direction or anything like that, so I hope this doesn’t get pointed out there because it is completely fake and is not the real story of the year.
“We simply got out-developed by Mercedes and Red Bull.”