Charles Leclerc has conceded "the road is still very long" before Ferrari can again consider itself a championship contender in Formula 1.
Ferrari endured its worst season in 40 years last season, finishing sixth after being plagued by an underpowered power unit and high drag.
The current campaign has been a far stronger showing for the Scuderia, although not a complete return to form, with four podium finishes and the team battling McLaren to be 'best of the rest' in third in the standings.
After the Italian Grand Prix, Leclerc overtook his points return from 2020, a fact he believes reflect the progress made by the team.
“It feels different," he explained. "Already from the first race, I felt more confident with this car. The performance overall has just been better and we have also been more consistent compared to last year so it is good to see that.
“It shows we are working in the right direction. The road is still very long until we reach our objectives which is to fight again for the title but it has been a good step forward from last year and now we need to continue working in this direction.”
The fight with McLaren appears set to go down to the wire in the Abu Dhabi season finale with the gap separating the two teams at just 17.5 points with seven races remaining.
“They are having a very good season unfortunately but it is good that we have such a fight," continued Leclerc.
"We have been very, very close during the whole season.
“In Monza, they were very strong and we will try to catch up now. Obviously, they are very quick, very consistent also, so now it is our job to try and maximise every weekend and hopefully we can get back in front of them at the end of the championship.”
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