Red Bull closer to rivals than in 2016 - Ricciardo


Red Bull may start the Formula One season slightly behind their championship rivals but Daniel Ricciardo is confident they will quickly get up to speed.

During testing ahead of the 2017 campaign, Ricciardo and Max Verstappen struggled to keep pace as Mercedes and Ferrari impressed in Barcelona.

Verstappen was the quicker of the Red Bulls across the two weeks in Spain, with Ricciardo's fastest time four tenths slower than his team-mate.

The Red Bulls were also unable to match the miles that Mercedes clocked up, as they only chalked up 684 laps - 412 fewer than their rivals.

However, Ricciardo remains confident the 2017 Red Bull will be more competitive than last year - when they finished runners-up to Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship - and he hopes they can begin to claw back time at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

"From testing, it [the gap to their rivals] looked like less than half a second," said Ricciardo. "I am not sure how much less, but less than half a second.

"This year was probably the best one [pre-season] in my time with the team. We know we can turn things around.

"Throughout the season maybe things will happen, you have to be prepared for that, but we are coming here pretty confident, I would say, with that.

"Our speed traps looked pretty good in Barcelona.

"We know we will not be as quick in a straight line but we are closer than where we were last year.

"We will see when everyone has it turned up this weekend."