Start, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Canadian GP cut short by two laps as celebrity waves chequered flag too soon

2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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The Canadian Grand Prix was cut short by two laps after a celebrity guest enlisted to wave the chequered flag did so too soon.

Model Winnie Harlow waved the chequered flag on the 69th lap of the 70-lap race. Under article 43.2 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations, the result is therefore taken based on the positions of the race on lap 68.

The article 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 [finishing] line before the signal was given.”

The FIA’s provisional race classification, which is issued immediately after the race, took the results based on lap 68. Sebastian Vettel won the race ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Harlow said on social media she waved the flag when she was told to. In an Instagram post featuring her and a circuit official (below) she wrote: “When they tell you to wave the flag a lap too early! You had one job sir!”

The last time an F1 race was cut short because the chequered flag was waved too soon was at Shanghai in 2014.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 91 comments on “Canadian GP cut short by two laps as celebrity waves chequered flag too soon”

    1. Incompetence at its best, LOL.

      1. Keep “Celebrities” away from important roles. What a farse.

        Just think how livid Ham / Ves would have been had they actually managed a last lap overtake!

      2. The FIA has explained what happened and said Harlow was not responsible for the error:

        FIA says celebrity guest Winnie Harlow not to blame for chequered flag error

        1. @keithcollantine Yes, I’m aware of that, and that kind of was my point.

    2. Thankfully no crucial (or any) overtakes occurred on the final few laps, otherwise there would be some big upset for whomever this affected :/

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        10th June 2018, 21:48

        In China 2014, there was a change of position, but since it was outside of the points nobody really cared.

      2. whats an “overtake” ?

        1. Must be something from the past.
          Like a dino.

        2. A food similar to bistake

    3. That might have been the most entertaining part of the race. Anyone know who got fastest lap then? Think VER was holding it at lap 68 before RIC took it. Asking for a ‘friend’ who had a bet on it ;)

      1. Pretty sure Vettel got a clean sweep in the end

        1. Officially it went to Max for the reason I stated. My betting site has currently recorded it as a lost bet for me though so I will be having words with them if they don’t correct themselves ;)

      2. Max got it as Daniel had it on lap 70 and that was deleted! I think Mercedes briefed the bimbo to wave the flag early just in defense of Bottas. So Next time no celebrities with IQ below 150.

        1. Surely, you meant 50.

          1. No 150 so not much persons can be used… :)

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          10th June 2018, 21:52

          It could be that she was told to wave the flag too early, though. In that case, she has a higher IQ than the person telling her what to do.

      3. Kerry Maxwell
        11th June 2018, 2:48

        They relayed the news to RIC in the post race interview on Sky that his fastest lap was DQ’d, and his reaction was pretty funny. He took it well, of course.

    4. Maybe, just maybe, putting the flag into the hands of an amateur PRIOR to the correct lap isn’t the best idea?

    5. Lewis won the race, he was the first car seeing the flag.

      1. Daniel got it first

    6. Neil (@neilosjames)
      10th June 2018, 21:00

      Surely someone would have been stood there, telling her when to wave it… inexcusable stupidity on the part of whoever was responsible.

      1. Yeah, I wonder what that FIA official was doing. That said, maybe let’s reserve this to only FIA staff and racing-related celebrities? But nooooo, for Liberty, the show comes first.

        1. @phylyp
          Nothing to do with Liberty Media. Celebs have been waving the flag (mostly at the appropriate time) for ages now. I remember Pelé forgetting to wave the flag at the Brazilian GP about 10 years ago. I’m not even sure if Pelé holds a driver’s license.
          So it’s by no means a new phenomenon.

        2. @phylyp, mind you, the official staff have also made the same mistake themselves – in the case that Keith linked to, which was from the 2014 Chinese GP, it was the clerk of the course who showed the flag too early in that case.

    7. Well, thank god Hamilton didn’t overtake Ricciardo then… Otherwise there would be some serious annoyance.

    8. What a Zoolander moment.

      1. Vettel. He’s so hot right now. Vettel.

        1. Blue Carbon“, the look that Vettel first revealed to the world in 2008, was hugely successful until 2015 when he switched to the exclusive Ferrari design house of Italy. His attempt to re-invent his trademark look as “Red Carbon” is only now beginning to win over the Fashion1sta.

    9. Also happened at the 2014 Chinese GP, but two laps early rather than one. Don’t think I’ve ever seen it before then.

    10. Maybe, to match your FE headline, you should write: Celebrity waves flag too soon and hands win to Vettel. :D

    11. This is an interesting rule. On normal occasions the chequered flag is always already being waved *before* the leading car crosses the line. So not only this race, but on every race it is waved too early and the result should be by the order on the penultimate lap instead, right?

      1. @sihrtogg if the leader is completing the race by the time he arrives to the checkered flag, it’s alright.

        1. Obviously that’s how it’s done, but this rule seems to disagree…

          1. The chequered can be really early, but no more than a lap for the leader.

      2. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
        10th June 2018, 21:33

        As long as no other car passes the waved chequered flag before the leader does, there’s no issue. And even if one does, as long as the leader is in close proximity, the chequered flag is generally accepted to only apply to the leader and any cars that then follow him over the line.

    12. Amateur hour or a merciful ending to the most boring race of the year?

    13. Alonso does have a point: F1 is basically like a 4 or 5-tier competition, and even within the tiers you have relatively big margins. You could argue that dirty air does have an effect, but the whole race there were rarely cars that were within DRS range of each other.

    14. I love Kimi, but they really need a better 2nd driver. This was a race that they could have put another car between them and the competition.

      Some very impressive stuff from Leclerc, in this race he was lucky Alonso retired, but putting that car in 10th in front of half a dozen faster teams is amazing. Maybe he is ready to take the call for 2019?

      1. @afonic I think in your second alinea you find the answer to the first.

      2. Kimi did not have the new Ferrari engine due to his engine change in Barcelona. Running the old one on Canada.

    15. It was confirmed on RDS, the French Canadian network that Harlow was told when to wave the flag. Honestly, she is blameless in this.

      1. And what’s with the white stuff on her face and arms ? As soon as I saw the flag I knew it had to be her. No ryu a very professional way to run a race.

        1. Winnie Harlow has a skin condition called vitiligo…

    16. Thank god, tho, I couldn’t take one more lap of that…

    17. Thank god max didn’t overtake Bottas in the end.

    18. Blaming the celebrity might be a bit misplaced. Incredible that whoever is responsible can make a mistake in such a simple yet important thing.

      Dog of a race by the way.

    19. Correction in my statement, that dirty air has an effect is not disputable; I just meant that dirty air isn’t responsible for all the ‘bad’ racing.

    20. These “celebrity” deals are so bizarre … as in, just WHO is/was this odd looking person? Plus the 2018 IndyCar Detroit GP when a General Motors big wig lost control of the pace car and smacked the wall. In the past the Indy 500 pace car driver used to be the highest selling auto dealer In Indiana-no-place. Some Hoosier geezer hit the pit entrance wall … hardware everywhere. And “Pele” …

      1. A little worse, most celebrity appear to show no interest in the event. At qualifying one of those celebrities act like paying attention, but another one kept involved in a table conversation during Q2.
        It maybe raises the GP internet presence but somehow generates a bad image to the event.

    21. These “celebrity” deals are so bizarre … as in, just WHO is/was this odd looking flagging person? Plus the 2018 IndyCar Detroit GP when a General Motors big wig lost control of the pace car and smacked the wall. In the past the Indy 500 pace car driver used to be the highest selling auto dealer In Indiana-no-place. Some Hoosier geezer hit the pit entrance wall … hardware everywhere. And “Pele” …

      1. Pele looked liked he’d turned up at the wrong stadium and rather than showing him the way to the football one down the road, they thought it would be a laugh to have him wave the flag.

        The girl today actually had a similar apperance to the flag and was more interested in flicking her hair than the job at hand. Probably after a new shampoo sponsor.

    22. Is F1 SO desperate for attention that it needs a minor zeleb to wave the chequered flag? Utterly embarrassing!

    23. As I understand Harlow is a friend of Hamilton’s. What an irony it would have been if he’d passed Ricciardo in the final two laps but been bumped back to fifth because his buddy waved the chequered flag too soon…

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        10th June 2018, 21:48

        Interestingly see waved it just as Hamilton was coming across the line (not sure if Ricciardo had passed by that time). Coincidence? ;)

    24. Now, imagine Vettel having a technical failure on the celebration lap….

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        10th June 2018, 21:52

        @damon …which wouldn’t strip him from victory.

      2. Just have a think about what you just said….!

        1. You better think about what I said. Vettel’s celebration lap WAS SUPPOSED TO BE the last lap in the race.
          @omarr-pepper

          1. Vettel did the full 70 laps. The FIA rules concerning an early checkered flag meant that the last two were not counted, but everyone raced to the end – the full, scheduled end.

    25. So, on the positive side. You know you shuddered again and again during Brundle’s celebrity’s on the grid walk. But thanks to him we all knew her, and that she was clueless about f1, apart from that her friend Hamilton drives there. So that is something.

      1. Please can he just not talk to the celebrities? They have no clue and there might be random F1 people, e.g. Bonno, who actually give insight into F1.

    26. The flag-waver shouldn’t be criticised – she should be praised for saving us all from another two laps of that dross.

      For a track which normally delivers, that was a thoroughly disappointing race.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        10th June 2018, 23:26

        Waving the flag early didn’t stop the race early – they still raced the full 70 laps. It’s just that the last two were then ignored for the purposes of the classification.

      2. Even the boring generic Heineken trophies returned. Last year even had unique trophies.

    27. Neil (@neilosjames)
      10th June 2018, 21:30

      Fun fact… she only waved it the first time Vettel crossed the line. The FIA guy had taken it back and he was waving it the second time. Then they gave it back to her so they could film her doing it.

    28. Really shameful that in a world championship an error of this nature occurs.
      It is the typical “American” way of doing things. The show is the important thing, the sport is secondary, that’s why they put anyone to lower the flag. A world-class stupidity.

      1. Yes, this has something to do with America.

        1. @chaddy If we work hard enough and make another few weird connections we can blame Trump for it!

        2. Well they are slipping on the details a lot this year, growing up I didn’t see a mistake on screen display or flag use for 20 years… the info this year is just wrong at times this year…

    29. Probably less foolish than letting a ‘celebrity’ crash the pace car into a wall…

      1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
        10th June 2018, 21:55

        Hahaha. Brilliant point. Now this doesn’t look so bad.

    30. Didn’t Ricciardo post the fastest lap in the last couple of laps of the race? I guess this means he losses it?

      1. He lost it! it went to Max

    31. Why are grid girl exploitive and not this?

      1. Because libtard logic means no logic.

      2. She would never get a job as a grid girl

    32. Honestly, blaming Harlow is not fair since one would assume that a FIA representative had already given her permission, or told her directly, to wave the flag at the certain time. Additionally, maybe F1 should focus on the racing part rather than showing how it has all become about money and publicity.

    33. I think the question here is why wasn’t this stupid rule changed after the last time it happened!

      1. Tommy Scragend
        10th June 2018, 23:27

        I agree, the stupid rule that allows celebrities to wave the flag should be changed.

      2. Because we don’t know if the rule is stupid.

    34. Why did patchy face do this? She looks like a chequered flag and thin as a pole someone should of just waved her like the flag.

      1. That’s…. wow. Stay classy, Markp

      2. I’ve seen you make many ill thought out comments on this site markp but this one really takes the biscuit. Maybe you should just stop posting?

        1. derek edwards
          11th June 2018, 1:05

          Wow. I had come here to comment that I would expect a celebrity to be somebody I of whom I had heard, but I now think I have a better idea of why the new F1 invited her to wave the flag, wrong time or not, and it is exactly to make normal and acceptable the condition she has and to render totally intolerable the kind of comment you think it is safe to make, to render the lives of other people who have vitiligo (yes, I looked it up) just a little bit better, to render the judgement of people purely on the basis of their skin colour, sex, ethnicity, sexuality and so on indefensible and outdated, to parade this equality before an audience of millions. Good for her and good for F1. Consider me converted.

          She has clearly chosen to stay as she is, to be what she represents, and to use her position to help make others’ lives better, and more power to her and the new F1 for their courage. You, however, have the option to change your attitude, and so you should. Your grammar too – it’s “should have”, not “should of”.

    35. I quit watching it long before she waved the flag – much sooner would have been fine with me.
      To label this race as boring is being too kind.
      Top 6 cars semi competitive and the remaining field little more than back markers.
      This is racing???

    36. Isn’t there an article that states: “Should for any reason the end-of-race flag be given to a clueless person , the person making such decision and everybody in the chain of command should be let go.”

    37. Bring back Glen Dix …

    38. They should have flaged 20 laps earlier

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