Daniel Ricciardo says he is optimistic for Red Bull Racing going forward following the opening round of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship after a competitive 'best of the rest' performance in Australia.

Though Ricciardo and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had sounded caution coming into the opening event, expecting the likes of Force India and Toro Rosso to be in contention, but the Australian enjoyed a strong race day, climbing from eighth to fourth at the chequered flag.

A more competitive weekend than anticipated, the result gives Ricciardo encouragement going forward since he expects the team to make strides over the year, more so than the cars around it.

Related Articles

"Generally out of the box the car has been pretty good," he said. "I felt that in (pre-season testing in) Barcelona as well. So it is the same story for now. We know that we are a bit down on the power for now, but when that comes hopefully that changes a few things for us.

"The gap to the front is closer - like say to Mercedes it is a bit closer than this stage last year. Everyone has bunched up, which is what we want for the sport. That is good. Normally the smaller teams, Force India, Toro Rosso...

"Force India improved last year but they started way back. They don't really get better during the season, and that is where we should probably separate from them. To be more or less where we are now is not that bad. You always want more but relatively speaking we are OK."