Vettel's quickest lap was almost three-tenths of a second slower than Mercedes pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton but the four-times world champion felt he had left a better time out on the track.
"I'm fine physically but emotionally it's tough", said Ricciardo, who was third in the driver standings a year ago.
"Maybe it's the track - It's cool today. And when we put the vehicle on the track on the Friday morning in Melbourne we sorted a lot of them - and you see the result today".
"People are fired up", Vettel said.
"But tomorrow [Sunday] is the day that matters - it seems that we have been quite strong on the practice starts, so hopefully we can keep that going. As I said the vehicle feels good, we've improved it so the pace feels much better than yesterday when we had some practice". Nice to see that things are working.
"We had a mixed day yesterday but the confidence in the auto was there from testing and I think we've showed it again today".
"Self-motivation is hard for the human race to find each year and each day", Hamilton says.
I'm struck by the word "comfortable" there, much more so than the word "classy".
"It's going to be a hell of a ride over the next 20 races". Hamilton is certainly wary of the threat Ferrari pose, and commented that Sebastian Vettel appeared more reserved than usual, possibly keeping tight-lipped about his team's chances.
"As you know, we weren't keen on these regulations because we believed there could be an impact on the racing side, which we haven't seen yet". "Now we're making sure we do our homework - make sure we've got an answer for these guys (Ferrari)".
Hamilton is the favourite for the F1 World Drivers' Championship in 2017 having missed out on victory in 2016 by just five points.
Lewis Hamilton has suggested Miami and Daniel Ricciardo picked Las Vegas as places they'd like to see new races, and Bratches told a news conference Friday that "there's no dearth of interest in bringing Formula One to circuits, both track and street, around the world".
Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Ricciardo, driving in his home GP, had a Q3 to forget, after the Australian crashed his auto while going for a flying lap, which put him in tenth place.
Saturday's results justified his opinion with Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen also lagging - he was 12th-fastest during the final practice. Missing out on that wasn't a major setback, considering Ferrari is confident of being fast off the grid.
Remember what Fernando Alonso said, about them not being cars to be driven as if by children?
Valtteri Bottas will start his first Grand Prix for Mercedes from third place, just ahead of the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and, although happy with his overall performance, says that third place is not where he wants to be. "Every year you generally set the same goals but you might add more".
The third practice session ended under a red flag after 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll went too wide and clipped the wall at turn 10, damaging his right rear wheel.
Richard Martin, an F1 fan who has been following the sport since the Australian world champion Alan Jones was racing in the 70s and 80s and has been coming to this race for 12 years, felt there was a new mood in the air and that a competitive edge would return.
Which F1 2017 auto is the best-looking on the grid?