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Wrong to wave the flag

Steven LynchApril 24, 2014
The chequered flag waves at the end of the race for Lewis Hamilton © Sutton Images
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Has there ever been a Grand Prix before when the flag was shown too early, like in China? asked James Rothman.

There doesn't seem to have been a similar incident before in Grand Prix racing, with the chequered flag being shown in error. Apparently the problems arose in China when the clerk of the course unfurled the flag to test it - just as a surprised Lewis Hamilton flashed by.

There have of course been several races when a Grand Prix has finished earlier than scheduled because of bad weather, or a serious accident. One of the most controversial such abbreviated races was in Monaco in 1984, when the end was signalled as Ayrton Senna was reeling in the leader Alain Prost.

Oddly, though, there was a comparable incident in a NASCAR race earlier this year, when a steward leant on the controls for the caution lights at Bristol in Tennessee. Faced with a yellow-light caution, the field slowed down - and then it started to rain, so the order when the lights went on by mistake was maintained. Fortunately, it was very close to the end of the 500-lap race.

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