Fernando Alonso surprised even himself on Sunday by finishing fifth in Australia but still wants an upgraded Ferrari car as soon as possible.
From 12th on the grid, he produced one of the drives of the day, but he said it brought relief to finish behind the two McLarens and two Red Bulls rather than satisfaction.
"It was a tough race for us and we knew that before the start," he said.
"We had some good battles, we had a good start so we recovered some positions, and after yesterday's qualifying, to be fifth behind the two McLarens and two Red Bulls is a pretty good result in terms of points.
"But the priority is to improve the car. We were too far (behind) yesterday and we were fighting with Williams at the end of the race. We'd prefer to fight at the top and this is our goal for the next race."
He added that the team would not be able to make any significant improvements ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix and would have to wait until the third race in China to start to close the gap to the front.
"The cars will be nearly identical [in Malaysia] because it is next weekend," he said.
"But we will try to improve something in the set-up to adapt the car for that circuit and then I'm sure for China and Bahrain we will have some updates.
"It'll be the same for the others, but hopefully ours will work a little bit better."
He added: "We are a little bit too slow at the moment. We need to change the direction quickly if we are to challenge for the Championship. We have to react."