Christian Horner has praised the hard work done by the Red Bull team over the course of Friday's practice day, with the team boss of the opinion that his crew had managed to get a reluctant RB18 to start performing by the end of the day.
With Ferrari leading the way in first practice with a convincing 1-2, the second session looked initially like being more of the same as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez struggled for laptime.
The Dutch driver had a few fluffed flying laps as he encountered traffic and had some scruffy final sectors, but managed to eventually put together a lap to finish a quarter of a second behind Charles Leclerc by the chequered flag.
Having managed to close the gap and find some performance, the Red Bull boss said it had been a "productive day".
"We've made progressive changes that got the car closer and closer to the window and the race run at the end looked pretty decent as well," Horner told Sky Sports F1 after the day ended.
"So [we've got] a bit of work to do tonight. [There's a] few things to tidy up, but I think we've got a good direction and the car is starting to respond nicely to those changes."
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The Red Bull is "starting to respond"
While Albert Park has been a mainstay of the F1 calendar since 1996, there have been huge changes made for 2022. The track has been widened and tweaked, with two corners removed entirely, meaning a much faster lap.
With the average speeds of many of the corners increasing, Horner said the "performance window" for the cars has changed as a result.
"It's a new surface or different surface to previously, I think the demands of the surface are a little different to what they were a few years ago with this new layout," he explained.
"[It has] definitely changed some of the energies, these new tyres react in different ways.
"So I think, you know, we hit the ground slightly out [of] the window. Now we've come into that window, and the car is starting to respond much more."
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