Sainz started from pole and led every lap as he showed good race management skills to bring home his first victory since the 2022 British GP, but Leclerc also did him a trio of favours.
The Monegasque first started on the soft tyre to gain track position before holding up George Russell throughout the first stint and during the safety car pit-lane scramble, ensuring Sainz retained the lead.
Despite his teammate winning the 25-year-old would only go on to finish fourth, 21 seconds off the lead.
“I think we did a really good race management today,” Leclerc said to media after the race.
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do to take the position from George [Russell], try and create the gap for Carlos [Sainz] to be able to stop one lap later than me without losing the lead.
“That’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately, with the safety car that put me on the backfoot because I had to lose four or five positions because of that.”
“I changed my mind very last minute [to go to the softs for the start]” Leclerc added. “Just to make sure that I was in front of George in the first stint, because then it was really clear that just beneficial for Carlos.
“Because obviously I was making the gap, but also for me because then that means I can stop before Carlos and try and get that second place.”
Leclerc concluded: “All in all, the win was the priority today.”
Ferrari have taken a leap forwards
The result is a second straight podium for Ferrari alongside a second successive pole position, on two very different tracks in Monza and Marina Bay, that also followed a strong showing by Sainz at the Dutch GP.
Leclerc believes that Ferrari have progressed after testing their latest updates at the previous few races.
“I really hope it’s possible to reproduce that Suzuka,” Leclerc continued. “And I’m really looking forward to see that because if we do that, so then it’s a really good sign for the future.
“In Zandvoort, we’ve done many tests, in Monza, we wanted to reconfirm those tests and the understanding we had from the car. Here, we applied everything and it seemed be a big step forward.
“Having said that, Singapore has historically been a very good track for us. So we need to wait one more race, in order to see whether we have done really good step forward consistently, or whether it’s one off but I can only say after Japan.”