Daniel Ricciardo says Renault latest Formula 1 car is an improvement on its predecessor but still lacks downforce and grip compared to the front-running teams.

Ricciardo closed out pre-season testing at Barcelona with the third-fastest time on the final day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and felt he was close to extracting the maximum from Renault’s RS20 contender.

The Australian was positive about the team’s progress over the winter and believes gains have been made with regards to car balance, though he stressed improvements can be found as Renault looks to reclaim best of the rest status in the midfield pack this year.

“I think we have improved the overall balance of our car, and I feel the rear now is better,” Ricciardo said.

“We were able to get out of the corner a bit harder, so they have been improvements. So far the reliability and stuff is strong. That is something that Renault was really pushing for this year, and so far so good.

“Weaknesses of the car - watching the lap of [Valtteri] Bottas last week, and in general comparing to the Mercedes for example, they have a lot of rear grip with the front as well.

“With the front it seems like they can really carry a lot of speed through the corner and really be quite aggressive on entries. And the rear is planted but the front also has good bite. So we need more grip and more downforce.”

And Ricciardo feels Renault has addressed some of the key weak areas that hampered its 2019 challenger.

“The individuals on the car build this year have done some things to address it,” he explained.

“Without going into details there is more suspension travel and stuff like that to help on some bumpier parts of the circuits.

"This track [Barcelona] you don’t really get an indication because it is very smooth and the curbs are flat, so you have to go to Melbourne and something bumpy and harsh to find out if it is better.”