Carlos Sainz is happy to have scored the podiums in both the races despite not being 100% comfortable with the Ferrari F1 car.

Unlike Charles Leclerc, Sainz hasn’t been on pace in both the races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with the Monegasque having an edge over the Spaniard. In fact, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has looked faster than the Ferrari driver too.

But despite the lack of pace or adjustment, Sainz has secured two podium finishes to his credit. But if Leclerc continues his fine form, it might become a two-way fight rather than have three or four drivers in the mix with Sergio Perez.

For now, Sainz is content with the results even though he is behind a bit. He felt much better with the car in Saudi Arabia than Bahrain. “I was happier than in Bahrain, definitely,” he said. “There’s been a bit of progress done from my side of the garage, with the feeling with the car.

“Also, having the opportunity to come to Jeddah, one hundred days only after we were here with last year’s car has given me a much clearer picture of the type of corner and the two or three corners that I’m still lacking with this car – because it’s quite clear for me now, it has given me a great opportunity to understand fully the magnitude of how much I need to adapt and how much I need to get the car bit more to my liking.

“I felt like in the race we did a small step in the right direction and while I’m still not 100 per cent with the car, to keep bringing the points and the podiums is important, until I will get back to 100 per cent and it will be time to join these guys at the top for the fights. We already did a step in the right direction and this gives me hope that if we keep working like this then I should just keep getting better and better every race.

“It might need a bit of more trial and error, try in one direction, maybe not getting it right and coming back. It has given me a greater overview of the situation, and I know exactly what to do for future races and in which type of corner I need to work on,” summed up Sainz, who is on the brink of having his contract with Ferrari extended.

There are reports of an announcement early in April, maybe even before the Australian GP.  “We are getting there,” said Sainz. “Obviously it is an important contract in my career and I really wanted to make sure that everything was done and both Ferrari and I were happy with what we are signing. And yeah, we are very close to finalising it. It still needs the last details. But yeah, it looks good for the future.”

Here’s Carlos Sainz on re-start issues

Here’s how Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc described Saudi battle