F1 teams desperate to put Australia behind them

08 April 2018 - 00:00 By and espn.com

Redemption will be on the minds of plenty of teams and drivers as they head to Bahrain eager to make amends for a disappointing opening race in Australia, none more so than Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes threw away an almost certain victory in Melbourne when a software malfunction caused the team to miscalculate Hamilton's delta during a mid-race Virtual Safety Car. Though Hamilton has been on the Bahrain podium every year since 2014, he hasn't stood on the top step since 2015.
Max Verstappen is another who will look to bounce back in Bahrain after an underwhelming weekend Down Under. The Dutchman was less than a tenth of a second from putting his Red Bull on the front row at Albert Park but had to settle for fourth, behind the Ferraris. He lost a place on the opening corner to Kevin Magnussen before spinning on lap 10 and ultimately finishing sixth.
Haas saw positions four and five disappear in Melbourne after two botched pitstops. The American team will be eager to bounce back in Bahrain and prove they can be the leader of Formula One's midfield.
It's also worth keeping an eye on Williams, who struggled with overheating in Australia and will likely have further issues in Bahrain's scorching conditions.
The season is just one race young, but if Valtteri Bottas ever needed a win, it's now. His future with the world champions is uncertain and the last thing he can afford is a huge deficit to Hamilton after two races.
Bottas had a weekend to forget in Australia after crashing hard at turn two during qualifying. The Finn's car had a new gearbox fitted and as a result dropped him to 15th on the grid. He recovered to finish eighth, but needs to stamp himself on this season. Bahrain will hold fond memories as it was the circuit he first claimed a Formula One pole position (2017), so don't rule him out.
Last year Force India scored an impressive 16 double-points finishes, but winter testing and signs in Australia suggest they are no longer at the same level.

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