Maldonado happier with Williams handling

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Pastor Maldonado says he’s feeling more positive about Williams’ chances in the final two races following the changes made to the car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

Williams found the FW35’s handling improved when they tested a 2014-style exhaust solution which does not harness the ‘Coanda effect’ exploited by the current generation of cars.

“We made a positive step forward with the car in Abu Dhabi and its feeling better to drive, so hopefully we can continue making progress this weekend and manage to finish in the points,” said Maldonado.

The Venezuelan driver scored the team’s only point of the year so far in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The next two races will be his final outings for the team who have already confirmed he will not be driving for them in 2014, taking his PDVSA backing with him.

Maldonado’s team mate Valtteri Bottas will be making his first appearance at the track. “I did not drive this track in FP1 last year so this will be a new experience for me but one I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I talked to some of the drivers last year and they were very positive and mentioned how challenging the Circuit of the Americas was.”

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”