Early Wave Of Checkered Flag At Chinese GP Ends F1 Race Two Laps Ahead Of Schedule
An "embarrassing blunder forced the Chinese Grand Prix to be shortened by two laps on Sunday" after a steward "mistakenly showed" the checkered flag early to race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, according to Daniel Hicks of the AFP. Race sources said that the "experienced" steward was "distraught after unfurling the flag and showing it momentarily to Hamilton, before realising he was a lap too early." Under motorsports governing body FIA rules, if the flag is shown early, the race is "deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line, in this case after lap 54" (AFP, 4/21). In London, Daniel Johnson wrote although it "did not have an impact on the points in the end, Daniel Ricciardo was chasing Fernando Alonso for the final podium place and was almost within striking distance." It "seems it was a simple case of an official mistakenly waving the flag a lap too soon, but the FIA closed ranks to protect the individual concerned" (TELEGRAPH, 4/20).