Maldonado expecting tricky German GP

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Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to next weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, a track where he has impressed in the past, but has admitted that it could be a tough race for Lotus.

The Venezuelan driver won the GP2 feature race at the track in 2010, and keen on racing at one of his favorite circuits on the calendar.

“I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes,” Maldonado said. “I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.”

However, Maldonado did concede that it could be a difficult weekend for Lotus, although he was pleased with the engine update from Renault that he used at Silverstone earlier this week.

“There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us,” he conceded. “The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.

“Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.”

Maldonado retired from the British Grand Prix on the penultimate lap of the race, but he has taken the positives out of the race.

“It was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight the cars around me,” he said. “I pushed as hard as I could but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the Enstone team and our fans.

“I’m disappointed to have not scored points but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits.”

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.”