Things got a little awkward — and potentially dangerous — at the end of Sunday’s Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.
The race, which was won by Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebasitan Vettel, ended when celebrity flag-waver Winnie Harlow, a Canadian fashion model, flew the checkered flag after Lap 69. There was just one problem, though: The race was supposed to go 70 laps.
Check this out:
Vettel, as you can imagine, was thrown for a loop.
“That was funny because on the steering wheel I have the lap count, and I have the pit board as well, which showed one more lap to go,” Vettel said after the race, via Sky Sports. “I even watched on TV (screens) after I saw the checkered flag and it said ‘final lap’ so I was then a bit confused.”
While everyone seemed to take the gaffe in stride, F1 is lucky no one got hurt.
“If you lose radio and the pit board is not there you back off,” Vettel said. “Being in the lead you hope that all the others back off as well. I told them also on the last lap that I was worried people would jump on the track waving flags and celebrating because we are still going at full pace.”
So, why was the flag waved early? As it turns out, the error wasn’t Harlow’s fault at all.
“The checkered flag was shown a lap early because of a miscommunication with the guy that they call the starter here, who starts and finishes the races,” F1 race director Charlie Whiting said, via DriveTribe. “He thought it was the last lap, he asked race control to confirm it, they confirmed it, but they thought he was making a statement when he was asking a question.
“He just showed it a lap early, or he told the flag waver to show it a lap early, so it wasn’t anything to do with the fact that it was a celebrity flag waver.”
But wait, there’s more weirdness.
Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo drove what would’ve been the race’s fastest lap time on Lap 70. But since the race was called early, the honor went to Max Verstappen, who completed Lap 65 in 1:13.864.
Here’s Ricciardo’s reaction when he learned he’d been snubbed:
That’s a bummer.
Let’s hope everyone has their ducks in a row when F1 reconvenes June 24 for the French Grand Prix.
Thumbnail photo via Ferrari