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.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”