Sainz has got up to speed quickly since moving from McLaren to Ferrari at the end of 2020, finishing on the podium twice.

The Spaniard sits three points ahead of Leclerc in the championship after finishing third at the Hungaroring thanks to Sebastian Vettel’s post-race disqualification.

It’s Sainz’s best season to date in terms of points scored but he thinks there have been several missed opportunities in 2021.

“I am happy with the way that I am integrating in the team and the first half of the season,” Sainz said after the Hungarian Grand Prix. “I'm very happy, particularly with the speed I've had with the car and since race one I felt like I was on top of the car and I was able to push it to the limit and be on the pace straight away in pretty much every circuit I've been to. 

“It doesn't feel like my strongest season is F1 definitely, I feel like there's a lot of points, a lot of missed opportunities here and there, I think I said that before this race that I feel like I haven't maximised a weekend, yet as a Ferrari driver I haven't put a whole weekend together.”

Sainz pointed out his crash during qualifying in Hungary as a perfect example of him not maximising his chances in a race weekend.

“And for some reason, maybe it's just being part of a team, it just takes time, you know to maximise weekends,” Sainz added. “And this weekend, I think is the best example. 

“I did a mistake in quali, I paid the price in the race. And there was one strange thing going on the pitstop that didn't allow us to release, we missed a podium opportunity because of that, and all of a sudden the whole weekend doesn't taste that good, you know, because I feel like we could have scored even better points. 

“So this weekend is a very good example of how the first 10/11 races, have felt like with again, very good speed. In qualifying in S1 in FP3, but for some reason something didn't quite go to plan and we, we ended up where we ended up.”