Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull?

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The Australian came from sixth on the grid to top the podium Sunday, leaving the battle for the Championship wide open, with fewer than 25 points separating the top five drivers.

Ricciardo’s contract expires at the end of the season, with seats potentially opening up at both Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I definitely want to be with the best car,” Ricciardo told Australian network Channel 10. “I think the weekend proved that if I’ve got the opportunity to win I can pull it off. I can handle that pressure and that intensity.

“If we can win a few more with Red Bull now, then that looks very attractive. If not, then I guess there are probably other options.

“I said it from the start. The win helps, but if we were finishing sixth every race this year then that is not the most attractive option to me.”

Red Bull Racing did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Future F1 world champion?

Ricciardo, who finished fifth in the 2017 drivers’ standings, has long been hailed as one of the most accomplished overtakers on the grid.

The “pass master” pulled off a total of 43 over the course of last season — considerably more than any other driver, with 13 coming at the British Grand Prix alone.

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But the fact remains he has only won six of his 82 races since joining Red Bull in 2014.

It took a major effort just to get the car ready for qualifying, after a significant engine failure during final practice led Ricciardo to believe he’d be “starting the race in 20th.”

Asked if he can contend this year, the 28-year-old insisted Red Bull needs to be more consistent.

“We’ll see,” he told CNN from the pit lane in Shanghai. “After a day like today, you’d like to think so, but we need a few more like this.”

“A week ago, I genuinely just felt heartbroken,” he added, alluding to the Bahrain Grand Prix in which he was forced to retire after the first lap.

“The sport does that. I obviously try not to let it get to me. But it can get you up and down and I was pretty emotional about it.”

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