(Photo credit: Artes Max)
The one driver on the grid who has to feature on this list is Max Verstappen. The Dutchman has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since the start of the season. After a disappointing weekend in Australia, where he finished sixth, he showed promise in the practise sessions of the Bahrain Grand prix; but alas, that was not to last for long. Max faced a few electrical issues in qualifying which led him to crash out of Q1. His collision with Lewis Hamilton on the second lap of the race added to his woes; he punctured his left rear tyre and subsequently retired from the race due to the resulting damage. Max can derive confidence from the fact he was on the podium in China last year and will try his best to catch up with Mercedes, Ferrari and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Lance Stroll, the more experienced driver of the Williams driver line-up, is another name that cannot escape the list. A host of problems both in performance and reliability have been plaguing the Grove-based team this season and Stroll’s critics are not staying silent. A podium in Baku last year hushed the doubters for a while but there seems to be no stopping Williams’ bad run after the first two races of the season. Stroll claimed a good tenth position on the grid here last season in only the second race of his Formula 1 career. The youngster will want to cement his position in F1 at the end of this season by displaying his pace and reversing the flailing fortunes of his team.
The misfortune that followed the Frenchman’s amazing start to qualifying in Australia followed him to Bahrain last weekend. Grosjean had a nightmarish start after being eliminated in Q1 while his Haas teammate went on to Q3. Grosjean then had an erratic and messy race where parts from his barge board were detached from the car which forced him to pit three times over the course of the race. He is now 17th in the Driver standings, which is eight places behind his teammate who is ninth. He now needs a strong performance to level up to his teammate who seems to have recovered from the setback the Haas team faced in the season opener.
Hartley was not as fortunate as his teammate Pierre Gasly over the course of the Bahrain GP weekend. After qualifying 11th, five places behind his teammate, Hartley had a few disruptions during the race. He had a tussle with Sergio Perez during the formation lap where the stewards gave him a 30 seconds time penalty for not reclaiming his position from the Mexican. This pushed him down to 17th from 13th on the grid. The surge in performance from Toro Rosso has ensured that all eyes are on Hartley and Gasly in China. With Gasly giving a splendid performance last weekend, the onus has now shifted on Hartley to live up to the performance of his teammate.
Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin has had an unpleasant start to his debut Formula 1 season. After a plastic bag ended his debut race in Australia, his Bahrain GP was not much better. Both the Williams cars were languishing near the bottom both in qualifying and in the race. With Robert Kubica waiting in the wings to re-join Formula 1 after his hiatus, the rookie needs to up his game to ensure that he remains an asset to the team
These are our picks of those who 'must try harder' in China. Let us know your picks in the comment section below.