Mercedes’ Bottas celebrates winning the race with second placed Hamilton. Anton Vaganov/Reuters
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff has confirmed that the victorious Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are free to fight for success without the restraints of team orders, as they showed in their scrap to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The pair battled wheel to wheel on the opening lap on Sunday and were fighting hard again in the closing stages when defending champion Hamilton put Bottas under pressure as they closed out an unprecedented fourth consecutive season-opening one-two triumph.
In contrast to Ferrari, where team orders have been used frequently this season, Mercedes have handed responsibility to the drivers and not felt any need to ask them to hold positions.
"We let them race," said Wolff. "They are experienced. They know that the racing must be clean. Lap one was very clean -- and this is a track where we mustn't take crazy risks because you could lose both cars.
"When we talk to them, it's always open and everyone can hear them, but then, obviously, you have the intercom too which is only an internal line.
"But I was not talking to the drivers. If I push the driver button, I know it myself -- so I am not giving myself permission to talk to them because I get emotional and then, sometimes, regret what I say."
Instead, said Wolff, his pit-wall team hold a discussion about their strategy and how the race is unfolding.
"We acknowledged that it could get a little bit racy at the end, but we didn't talk to them."
A second grand prix — most likely on the streets — would complement the existing one on the $450 million Shanghai International Circuit. No country currently has two Formula One races, although F1 officials are negotiating for a second grand prix in the United States.
Lewis Hamilton said that he “redeemed” himself with a lightning start to win the 1,000th Formula One grand prix on Sunday in a blustery Shanghai.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is gunning for his first win this week in China after cruelly missing out in Bahrain as Formula One’s 1,000th race coincides with the emergence of a bright new star.
The 50 highest ranked players on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex will take on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates - designed by two-time Open Champion, Greg Norman - competing for a share of the $9 million prize pot.
Saud Al Shamsi, Tournament Director of the Dubai CrossFit Championship, said: “We are really excited to announce yet another edition of what has become one of the most anticipated competition in the world of CrossFit.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla looked unbeatable as he launched his bid for a fourth consecutive world aquabikes title at the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy.
Title sponsor Dubai Duty Free supported five of the eight races on the programme, with prize money totalling £ 276,500, including the day’s feature, the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes, named in honour of the locally trained 1971 Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero.