Bianchi disappointed with qualifying performance

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Marussia’s Jules Bianchi has admitted that he is disappointed with his performance in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix after finishing 19th in Saturday’s session.

“I am happy with where we ended up on the grid for tomorrow’s race, but I am a little disappointed with my lap to be honest,” Bianchi said in a team statement.

“I made a small mistake which cost me lap time and there was certainly more to come. I think we have struggled a little more today perhaps, but I have confidence in our race pace and so I am looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

The Frenchman was looking set to make it into Q2 at one point during the session, but he was eventually edged out by both Toro Rossos and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. However, he believes that he can still produce a good result in the race tomorrow.

“It will be key to get a good start and ensure the cars behind us stay behind us, then I am sure we can continue our trend of getting closer to the cars in front and hopefully feel the full benefit of our upgrades.

“I think it could be an interesting race generally because of the tires and the track conditions, and I hope we will be able to take advantage of some circumstances which might work in our favor.”

Bianchi has made an impressive start to his Formula One career, and his disappointment acts as evidence of the will to win he possesses. If he can take advantage of the varying strategies throughout the field though, it could still be a fruitful weekend for the Ferrari Driver Academy member.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”