For Vettel, the P4 finish came thanks to an impressive drive through the field. The German had started 15th after gearbox issues in qualifying left him unable to run in Q3, and was then subject to a grid penalty for changing the unit.
"I enjoyed it a lot and I think fourth is the best we could get today,” reflected the four-time world champion.
“Mercedes have a very good package with the engine, car and two very good drivers. All in all that makes them so strong and difficult to beat," he said.
"But it would be quite sad to go into the weekend and just aim for third. I think this weekend from the team point of view was good with third and fourth, but at the next race we'll attack again."
Team boss Christian Horner praised Vettel's efforts, but remains realistic about his squad’s prospects.
"It was a great performance by Seb," said Horner. "He really went for it and he passed other drivers pretty much everywhere, apart from the conventional place at the end of the straight.
"It is a significant gap that we still have to overcome [to Mercedes]. But it is great to see we have made progress and made a step ahead of the Ferraris and the rest of the field."
Meanwhile Ricciardo was pleased to secure his first official podium finish, having taken second spot at his home race in Australia only to be disqualified for a technical infringement. However he too was cautious about Red Bull’s chances of beating Mercedes.
“They were a long way ahead. I think coming into the race today we knew a boring race would be a pretty good one for us. We knew we didn't really have the pace for Mercedes.
“We looked like a third-place car and in the end that's what it was. We just had to focus on getting the tyres to last two stops and that was it.
"It's really nice to be on the podium and I'm sure I'll be able to keep it this time,” he added.
Red Bull currently sit second in the constructors’ world championship, while Vettel and Ricciardo are fourth and fifth respectively in the drivers’ standings.