Charles Leclerc said Friday Ferrari were heading in the right direction, but still had their work cut out to be competitive after the first two practice sessions in Australia.

The Monaco driver came fifth in FP1 and improved to second in a rain-affected FP2 — behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso but, in a boost, ahead of world champion Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

“We explored quite a few set-up variations today, which was interesting as it felt like we were going in a right direction,” said Leclerc, who led from start to finish to win in Melbourne last year.

“That doesn’t mean that we have the same pace as our competitors, as they still seem to have the upper hand for now. 

“There is still a lot of work to do before we can get back in a proper fight but we will put all our energy in making further steps forward.”

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