Antonio Giovinazzi believes Sauber has made a "big step” between Formula 1’s two in-season tests in 2018, after he got back behind the wheel of the C37 in Hungary. 

The Ferrari junior drove for the Italian squad on Tuesday before taking over from Sauber regular Marcus Ericsson on Wednesday, following on from his recent FP1 outings at the German and Hungarian Grands Prix.

Giovinazzi, who also appeared for both teams in the first in-season test in Barcelona, had already felt a “dramatic” improvement in Ferrari’s latest challenger, while he was also impressed by the progress made by Sauber, which has recorded points finishes in all but four races since May’s Spanish Grand Prix. 

F1 2018 Car Comparison

“I think the team is doing a fantastic job,” Giovinazzi said. “In FP1 it’s really difficult to see the difference. 

“But compared to rookie test I did in Barcelona, compared to today, the car is really a big step in front.

"I’m really happy for this, they’re doing a fantastic job, happy with the car and the team.”

When asked where the gains were most notable, he replied: “Just I think downforce overall. Just better everywhere, braking stability, just everywhere.”

Giovinazzi set the pace on the opening day of the test at the Hungaroring, before finishing Wednesday’s run in the Sauber with a time two seconds slower than he managed for Ferrari on the same Hypersoft compound. 

Comparing his headline times from both days, Giovinazzi noted the large performance gaps between Ferrari and Sauber. 

“Of course it’s another really big step, two seconds from the lap I did yesterday. I think also they did a big improvement from the beginning of the year and I spoke about the rookie test in Barcelona.

"So I think everyone is developing the car but you see the difference compared to Ferrari.”

Giovinazzi added he was keen to impress both the Scuderia and Sauber with the Italian aiming for a return to the F1 grid in 2019, having taken part in the opening two races of last season for the Swiss squad as stand-in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein

“For now I need just to do what I’m doing, drive a car, I think was two positive days for myself. Now we’ll see,” he explained. "I still have 4 FP1s with Sauber, at the end of the year I hope I can have the seat I want.

"But because I did a good job it is not for sure I will have the seat next year, everything will change, what I will do is just do my best and will see if it will happen or not."