Canadian GP: Final two laps erased after chequered flag waved too early!
Flag waved by Winnie Harlow - a model and friend of Lewis Hamilton - but Sky F1 understands she wasn't to blame for the mistake
Last Updated: 11/06/18 6:25am
The Canadian GP ended in confusion after the chequered flag, marking the end of the race, was unfurled prematurely.
As a result of the mistake, the 70-lap race has officially been declared as 68 laps long with the final two laps erased.
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Although the flag was waved prematurely by Winnie Harlow - a model and friend of Lewis Hamilton - it's understood she wasn't responsible for the gaffe.
Fortunately race victor Sebastian Vettel realised the mistake and carried on to finish the full duration of the grand prix - although the Ferrari driver later admitted he briefly doubted his in-car lap count.
"That was funny because on the steering wheel I have the lap count, and I have the pit board as well, which showed one more lap to go. I even watched on TV [screens] after I saw the chequered flag and it said 'final lap' so I was then a bit confused," said Vettel.
"So I told them [the team over the radio] that I think the race is over and they said 'no, no, no keep pushing!' Some of the marshals were already celebrating. I think they peaked a bit early!"
But the German said that such flag gaffes could still have unwanted consequences: "If you lose radio and the pit board is not there you back off. Being in the lead you hope that all the others back off as well! I told them also on the last lap that I was worried people would jump on the track waving flags and celebrating because we are still going at full pace."
Although the final result wasn't affected, with no changes of position taking place over the final laps, the early flag caused confusion after the race when a startled Daniel Ricciardo was told by Sky F1 that Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen had been credited with the race's fastest lap.
Ricciardo had, though, lapped even faster on his final tour of the circuit - only for his effort to be declared invalid, on the official timing computer at least, when the final two laps were erased.
Look out for Daniel's look of shock in the video below…
Why was the flag waved early?
Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz explains:
"Winnie Harlow is a model and friend of Lewis Hamilton. She was given the honour of waving the chequered flag to finish the race.
"She was given the chequered flag by the flag marshal in the gantry. It looks like he gave it to her and told her to wave it at the wrong time.
"I've asked FOM and the early indications are that this was not Winnie Harlow's fault.
"There is a bit of controversy about celebrities and non-race marshals signalling the end of the race because it leads to chaos like this.
"The chaos it leads to is that the race is classified now at lap 68. The rules say that if there is confusion like this, the race then has to be classified two laps before.
"Because the race is classified on lap 68 and not 70, as it should have been, the fastest lap goes to Max Verstappen, who did a 1:13.864 on lap 65, not Daniel Ricciardo who did a faster lap on lap 70."
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