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Motor racing: Red Bull playing catch-up in final Bahrain test

Published on Feb 28, 2014 6:24 AM

(REUTERS) - Formula One teams began their final pre-season test in Bahrain on Thursday with champions Red Bull and engine partners Renault still struggling as Mercedes-powered rivals racked up the laps.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel's new teammate at Red Bull, started off with a promising 32 laps in the morning but an attempt at a longer run in the afternoon was aborted.

He told reporters that the team were still playing catch up after a difficult first two tests in Spain and Bahrain: "We're definitely not up to scratch with where we'd like to be in terms of programme," he said. "It's clear we probably won't come out to Melbourne and dominate as the team did last year, but it's still very early to say. We're getting there. The morning was definitely better and we definitely made a step forward in terms of power."

With the season starting in Australia on March 16, the four Mercedes-powered teams - Mercedes, McLaren, Force India and Williams - have looked well ahead of the four using Renault engines.

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