Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chinese Grand Prix ends two laps early after checkered flag blunder: Report

The Chinese Grand Prix ended two laps earlier than scheduled after the checkered flag was waved before the end of the race. 

The embarrassing blunder stunned the start-to-finish leader, and eventual winner, Lewis Hamilton, who reported the mistake over the team radio as he began his final lap.

"That was very strange. I was thinking 'am I seeing things?'" Hamilton said afterwards. "I looked up, I was coming across the line expecting to do another lap and all of a sudden I looked for a split second and I saw the flag.

"I lifted for a second and I saw there was no one on the wall, so then I just kept going. 'I did lose a second or so. I asked the team, they said no, so I just kept going."

Under FIA rules, the race was subsequently classified after 54 laps, rather than the scheduled 56-lap race.

The ruling states:  "Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given." 

At this stage it remains unclear why the checkered flag was waved prematurely; although it is worth noting that there were several erroneous blue flags – which warns a driver that he is about to be lapped – throughout Sunday's race.

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