Charles Leclerc admits that Ferrari have "a lot" of work to do if they hope to be in the title fight in 2023.
It was a difficult weekend for the team at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Leclerc arriving into the event with a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his season's quota of control electronics units.
The Monegasque started the race from P12 but could climb no higher than seventh, having struggled to match the pace of Mercedes. Teammate Carlos Sainz ended the day in P6.
Leclerc: There wasn't much more in the car
When asked on Sky Sports F1 if he had been expecting Mercedes to be "out of reach", Leclerc explained: "I don't know if they were out of reach.
"The thing is that, once I got within a second and a half to Carlos, it was very difficult to get closer than that. The pace difference wasn't big enough.
"I did a small mistake when I was within DRS, and then when I lost it, that was it.
"I just stayed there. It’s like this. Honestly, I don't think there was much more anyway in the car today. We just need to work to find some pace."
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Leclerc identifies areas for improvement
Quizzed on how much work Ferrari need to do in order to be in the championship battle, Leclerc said: "A lot, really a lot."
In terms of the areas that the Scuderia may need to particularly focus on, the 25-year-old drew comparison with their rivals.
"Straight line they are quicker, and corners they are quicker, so a bit of everything," he added.
It follows on from Leclerc's DNF at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix due to mechanical issues.
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