Daniel Ricciardo says he has been encouraged by Red Bull's start to the final test but warned it is likely to be uncompetitive in Melbourne.

The morning session on Thursday in Bahrain saw Ricciardo complete 32 laps - more than he'd managed on any one day of testing so far this year - and Red Bull look to be running consistently. However, in the afternoon the RB10 remained in the garage and only emerged for five laps in the final hour.

However, Ricciardo said the early running was a step forward for the team even if it can't expect to be continuing its 2013 dominance at the start of this season.

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"What we did on track today I think was the most positive stuff done," Ricciardo said. "It's still not enough laps but at least it's looking like we're getting in the right direction.

"There's not really a main [problem] at the moment; we fix one thing and then another problem arises. How it all is if everything's working it all needs to feed on to each other and if one thing doesn't work then it plays on to the next. There's a few things but we're getting there. There's many boxes to tick and we're slowly ticking them."

"From the outside I guess it's just laptimes and the amount of laps that we're doing, but from the inside we know where we are with how much performance we're putting in the car. We're still confident that we can be up there but it's hard to say. I think it's clear that we probably won't come out to Melbourne and dominate like the team finished last year but it's still very early to say."

And Ricciardo explained that during the early running felt like the car was working well as a unit.

"Definitely the morning was much better for us. We got some little bit longer runs as well in there and at least for me behind the wheel that was the best I've felt with the package; it seemed to all be coming together a bit better now. Obviously we still had some issues but at least when the car was on track I think it was much more useful running for us today.

"It was pretty similar to last week; a few mechanical issues that put a stop to most of our running this afternoon. We'll see, hopefully tomorrow we can get more but at least a bit of progress this morning. It's getting there. I would still love to keep going but at least Seb [Vettel] has got two days after me. I'm not the last one so I think we're looking pretty good for the next three days."

Ricciardo also dismissed any notion that Red Bull would be struggling to fight with any of the Mercedes-powered teams.

"Mercedes is probably a clear team who is consistently at the front at the moment but the rest are still a bit unknown. I think we need to focus on ourselves to get more laps in."