• Chinese GP

Chequered flag error knocks two laps off Chinese GP

ESPN Staff
April 20, 2014 « Bad luck ruining Williams' potential - Massa | Smedley prioritising small gains at Williams »
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The length of the Chinese Grand Prix has been cut from 56 laps to 54 laps after the chequered flag was waved one lap too early.

The error does not change any of the points-paying positions, but does mean Kamui Kobayashi has been classified behind Jules Bianchi's Marussia, which he passed on lap 55. The chequered flag was shown to Lewis Hamilton at the end of lap 55, and under the regulations that means the race results were officially declared one lap earlier at the end of lap 54.

Article 43.2 of the sporting regulations 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"

Hamilton mentioned the chequered flag over the team radio as he started the last lap and after the race said he was unsure what to do.

"That was very strange! I was thinking 'am I seeing things?' 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. Very, very strange. It was good to do another lap."

Kobayashi was disappointed to have been stripped of his position by an incident out of his or the team's control.

"It's a real shame that my move on him on the last lap now doesn't count due to the mistake with the chequered flag, something we had nothing to do with. We'd had a really good battle for the last few laps of the race and I got him on what was the last lap, until it turned out the chequered flag had been waved a lap too early by mistake - until we found that out after the race it had been good to see what a small victory like that does for the team as it lifted everyone at the end of a very tough first four races of 2014."

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