Marcus Ericsson says strong results will be “critical” to his hopes of landing a Sauber seat for the 2019 Formula 1 season, given the unpredictability of the driver market.

Ericsson is expected to remain at the Swiss squad next year but Sauber’s decision could hinge on the future of his teammate Charles Leclerc, who has been linked with moves to both Ferrari and Haas.

Ferrari is understood to be keen to find a seat for its junior Antonio Giovinazzi, with Sauber an option should Leclerc move up to either the Scuderia or customer team Haas.

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The Swede has enjoyed a string of solid results in recent races, including points finishes in Germany and last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

When asked how important strong results are given movements in the driver market, Ericsson replied: “It’s very important and I think this time of the year is going to be critical.

“But I just look at it now, in the last five races I scored points in three of them and scored double the points of my teammate in the last five races. I think that’s a good statistic that’s important to show to Fred and them as well to see that I’m making a difference.

“So I need to continue that and continue that form because it’s going to be critical for me getting a contract for next year. Now the team is getting better and better and I know the competition for the seats is a lot higher than it’s been for the last two or three seasons here.

“Now it’s a very competitive environment here and I know there are a lot of drivers interested. So I need to continue to score points and make good performances.”

Ericsson has openly admitted he has struggled to match Leclerc this season, particularly in qualifying trim, but said a change of approach in Belgium was key to his strong performance and generally feeling more comfortable in the car.

“I’m a second half of the year type of guy!” he said. “For some reason I’m always strong in the second half, but I had a good summer break and I’ve been analysing the first half.

“I tried to go to Spa with a bit of a different approach, trying to focus even more on myself and sort of feel the car more and I’ve been really focusing on that and my feeling when I’m driving.

“It felt like all weekend I was more comfortable in the car than I have been for a long time,” he added. “All weekend I’ve been really strong, I’ve been really on the pace both on Friday and even on Saturday in qualifying.

“Also I think me and Charles were very closely matched. That’s the objective for me, to take the fight to him, and I think I did a good job there. I need to continue that in Monza.”

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