Heading to Melbourne this weekend, most had written off Red Bull's chances. However, a productive Friday has left even their own two drivers surprised by their day's work.
After a disastrous preseason and never-ending issues with cooling and the Renault power unit, some had predicted the world champions could even be well down the field.
But on Friday at least, those woes appeared to have been put behind them as both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo looked competitive.
Despite only completing 10 laps in the final half hour in the opening session, Vettel made up ground in the late session completing 41 laps and coming up just seven laps shy of a full-race distance. As for home-favourite Ricciardo, he was able to run freely during both sessions notching 64 laps on the day.
"I knew the guys were doing everything they could since testing but still, we didn't expect to do that many laps today," said the Australian afterwards.
"I’m really happy and pleased for them."
Not only did the team run trouble-free but the RB10 - which had looked so slow in testing - also looked pretty competitive albeit not quite on the pace of the predicted front-runners.
"I think we have to be pretty positive with where we ended up today," Ricciardo added.
"We expected Mercedes to be quickest, but we were within a second of them today so that’s a lot better than we thought."
Even for Vettel the amount of running completed on Friday was unexpected but the four-time champion is not getting ahead of himself yet.
"In the end Friday times are not worth a lot, but it’s better to be close to the top rather than somewhere towards the back," he said.
"We will do what we can to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday, but let’s see where we are then – the most important thing is that we finish."
Overall both drivers were in the top seven in both sessions and their race pace also seemed pretty competitive - particularly against the Ferrari's and the three Mercedes customer teams.
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