Carlos Sainz thinks Ferrari are still "one step behind" their Formula 1 rivals after experimenting with car setups in the Australian Grand Prix practice.
The Spaniard believes they will be close to Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin in one-lap pace, but expects the team to face the same challenges as they did in Jeddah.
"I think it's fair to assume that in qualifying we will play with them, but then in the race we should assume also that we should be one step behind like in Jeddah," said Sainz.
Ferrari spent most of interrupted Friday practice running focusing on car setup, which should help them find more performance according to Sainz.
"We did use that FP1 to try some very different things on the car, to see if we can find a bit of performance for the package that we have now.
"We did seem to understand it a bit better and find a couple of things that could help us for the future. But until we put it into a proper qualifying lap we will not know."
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Leclerc: Feeling is better than previous races
Teammate Charles Leclerc is upbeat about their chances, believing the car feels better than the previous two races.
But he still thinks the team needs to make another step to close the gap to Red Bull.
"I feel like the feeling is a bit better than the other races," he explained.
"It's probably our most positive FP2 of the season, which doesn't mean much, but at least it's a Friday that finishes on a positive note.
"So now we need to work to another step in the right direction tomorrow and hopefully we'll be a bit closer to the Red Bulls tomorrow."
Join Balve Baines, RacingNews365.com journalist Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, Editorial Director of RacingNews365.com, to discuss the key talking points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.