By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Following a strong preseason, Daniel Ricciardo has tabbed Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel as likely contenders to dethrone Mercedes.

The Red Bull Racing driver told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is hoping the pace shown by his former teammate’s Italian squad is legitimate.

“From the first test day, Ferrari made a very good impression,” Ricciardo said.

“I hope they keep it up because it would be nice if someone could fight Mercedes. They’ve improved a little of everything and they also seem to be very good on these tires.

“I also know that when Vettel has a good car, he can be the strongest.”

The 27-year-old Aussie isn’t overly concerned with how his own team performed during preseason testing, citing 2014 when they looked abysmal prior to the season but went on to win three races.

“I’m relaxed,” said Ricciardo. “I remember all the problems we had in testing in 2014 but we won three races. So even if we’re a bit behind in Melbourne, I’m not worried,”

“In identical conditions, we are roughly where the best cars are, but we’re not there yet. I think sooner or later we will begin to fight for the top positions – hopefully in Melbourne. We’re also in good shape, but we need a little more speed.

“Wouldn’t it be great if three teams were fighting for the title?”

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