Sainz qualified on the front row and led much of the race before surrendering the lead to former McLaren teammate Lando Norris.

An early stop put Sainz in traffic but he progressed up the order, ultimately securing a podium finish with a timely switch to intermediates.

Reflecting on the weekend at Sochi, Sainz said: “It is my best weekend with Ferrari, definitely. I think I managed to put a very strong weekend from practice, especially into Q3, and then a good start and good pace management in very tricky conditions. I’m not going to lie, I’m proud of the weekend. 

“I think the team has also done a very good job with all of the pit stop calls, yesterday going into the soft tyre at the right time, today going into taking the intermediates at the right time. Overall, I think it’s been my strongest weekend in Ferrari. Perfect, I don’t know, perfect is a very strong word at times. There’s always things when you look back that you can improve, so perfect is not the right word. But my most complete weekend, let’s put it like that, yes, it is.”

While Sainz was delighted with his rostrum appearance, he is keen for Ferrari to up its game after struggling with straight-line speed and tyre graining relative to its rivals.

“Just obviously to finish P3 after leading a race, it doesn’t taste as good,” Sainz added. “What we need to keep working on as a team is to make sure the next time I am in the position of leading a race, we make it stick and we win the race, and we don’t suffer as much as we suffered with graining and we were not so vulnerable on the straights and all that. 

“Make sure we keep improving as a team to make it stick next time.”

Ferrari sits fourth in the constructors’ championship, 17.5 points behind McLaren.