The Spaniard made a lightning start from fifth on the grid at Interlagos, getting past Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez into Turn 1, before overtaking F1 championship leader Max Verstappen at Turn 4.

Like pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas, Sainz benefitted from the softer rubber at the start but credited the work he has done behind the scenes to improve his starts with Ferrari.

“Yeah, not only the soft to be honest,” Sainz said when asked about Lap 1. “The start, the procedure, the lap one mindset I think it also worked well. The starts have been a bit of a lesson I’ve tried to learn through this last year as I used to be a very strong starter in the McLaren and the Renault one the strongest, and in the Ferrari, for some reason, I didn’t manage to bring that with me.

“And I’ve been working hard these last few weekends to nail them and then it suddenly paid off. So now we want to try and keep going in that direction.”

Sainz managed to fend off Perez for the whole race to secure third on the grid for the grand prix.

He admitted that he ‘loved’ mixing it with the faster Red Bulls in the sprint race.

“I love it, It’s not that often you get to battle the Red Bulls and the Mercs this year so as soon as I have a chance I’m gonna try and show myself a bit because their fighting for the championship also you want to show a bit that whenever you’re going to be there, hopefully next year, we’re gonna be aggressive,” Sainz added.

“So yeah, it was good fun. With Max I knew he had nearly a second of pace delta, so I actually used his overtake to manage my tyres, I used those couple of laps to really manage my tyres to use them later in the race to defend from Checo because Max was going to be too difficult to keep behind the whole race.”

With Perez stuck behind Sainz for the entirety of the sprint race, the Mexican once again voiced his frustrations about the format as a whole.

“To be honest, no I don’t think they’re great fun,” Perez said. I think they’re mainly for the fans so if they enjoy them then good, but I don’t particularly enjoy them.”

“I just feel like there is not a lot of action, you know? There’s not a lot of overtaking, or it doesn’t change as much things going into tomorrow’s race, which is the main one. You cannot take too many risks because you can be heavily affected trying to pass people here. It’s not like the actual race, you haven’t gained anything but you can lose a lot.”