Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari is "missing" a key factor in its battle with Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship.
The race for second is heating up between the two marquee teams, as Formula 1 enters the final two races of the 2023 season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
Both teams suffered setbacks over the recent triple-header after Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton were disqualified after the US Grand Prix, with the Monegasque also not taking the start in Brazil after crashing with suspected hydraulic failure on the formation lap.
It followed team-mate Carlos Sainz also not starting in Qatar due to a fuel system issue, with Mercedes currently on 382 points to Ferrari's 362 - a lead of 20 - with two rounds and 88 points remaining on the board.
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Leclerc: We've made big steps
Despite suffering from reliability issues throughout the season, Leclerc thinks there is one key area the team needs to focus on to achieve second place.
"Race pace is what we are missing the most but I will also say that yes, we are missing 20 points to Mercedes and short-term, this is where we should focus," he told media, including RacingNews365.
"Since Zandvoort, we've made big steps forward in the understanding of our car, in the concepts that we have and the directions we've been taking.
"Until now the first part of the season was mostly down off experiencing what were the best directions to go into for the future.
"We've set it a little bit more and understood which is the direction to push.
"This gives me the confidence that we can close the gap in the future, then how close or when is much more difficult to answer.
"Ferrari wants to be back on top. There are many more points to recover to be the first team, especially against a Red Bull that is extremely strong at the moment.
"That is the medium to long-term target and yeah, so that's why we are putting all the efforts in order to be back to the level of performance we've seen at the beginning of last year, where we were fighting for wins and fighting for the championship."