A positive competition between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz is helping Ferrari improve its level of performance, according to team principal Fred Vasseur.

Sainz held off teammate Leclerc for a podium in Monza having qualified on pole position, and duly followed that up with victory from pole in Singapore. Leclerc responded with a strong fourth place in Japan and while Vasseur says there hasn’t been one clear moment that Ferrari has made a step forward in recent races, instead the drivers have helped push the team in the right direction.

“We have to avoid coming to conclusions too quickly,” Vasseur said. “Before the break in Spa we were also in good shape, Charles started from pole position – qualified on the first row – and did a good race. As it’s a matter of hundreds of seconds, sometimes you do a small step and you have the feeling that everything has changed but it’s not exactly the reality.

“But it’s a sport and in the end we can accept that one is doing a better job than the other from weekend to weekend. I think that we have a positive competition and this is also helping us to improve.”

One area Ferrari appears stronger is with tire usage after not suffering from degradation issues during the Japanese Grand Prix, something Vasseur says has been improved since the opening races.

“It’s a step forward compared to the beginning of the season but on the other hand we were probably a bit too conservative (at Suzuka). I think it was true of everybody on the grid but we were m ore scared than the reality. But it was okay, it was under control in the race and I think it’s been a good step forward in this regard.

“If you have a look at the first couple of races of the season, the degradation or the tire management was not always our biggest skill. Coming to Suzuka with the track temps we were a bit anxious but I think at the end of the day we did a good job on this side.

“The race was under control, the strategy was well managed and we did well. It’s a clear step forward compared to the first part of the season.”