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Ricciardo: Red Bull not on level of Ferrari and Mercedes yet

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Vettel impresses on third day (0:38)

Sebastian Vettel managed to secure the fastest lap time of winter testing while also securing the most laps on the third day of the second week of testing. (0:38)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Daniel Ricciardo admits Red Bull is currently off the pace of Ferrari and Mercedes after the RB13 did not make the step forward he had hoped for on his final day of pre-season testing.

Ricciardo's best effort on Thursday was 1.8s off Sebastian Vettel's fastest time in the Ferrari, which was also the quickest lap of testing so far. Red Bull's run plan appeared to be focused on race pace, including a race simulation, but Ricciardo still appeared downbeat with his lap times.

"I wish we were sandbagging a bit more, but today we weren't quick," he said. "I would say day one of this week's test we looked more competitive, sure, I would say we were probably within two or three tenths of the pace. Today it was a lot more.

"So our true pace is closer but we are not quite on their level at the moment. We can get there but we are not there yet."

Asked about Vettel's lap times, Ricciardo added: "It proves that Ferrari is quick, they have been quick all test, and they showed it on long runs as well. I don't think we were quick today, we will have some answers for that, but yes we didn't have the pace today, so yeah Ferrari looks strong.

"At the moment they look like they are pretty close to Mercedes pace if not on it. So it is going to make Melbourne interesting, and I think we will get there. I feel that it is in the car, we just need to ... tomorrow will be important to understand a bit more. I am not driving, but with Max it will be interesting."

Ricciardo said more performance and reliability was still needed from the Renault engine.

"There is still a little bit to understand. For me today was good. We did nearly 130 laps with no issues, so that was positive. I know that Max [Verstappen] had some issues yesterday -- perhaps they have already figured out the problem there, so I have confidence that it will get better once we get to Melbourne."