Flag error shortens Chinese GP, spoils Kobayashi pass

If you were excited about Kamui Kobayashi’s last lap pass on Marussia’s Jules Bianchi for 17th place, you can forget about it because the Chinese Grand Prix was only 54 laps long instead of 56. Kobayashi’s pass was all for nothing as the checkered flag was waved on lap 55.

According to F1 regulations, if the end-of-race flag is waved prior to the actual last lap—which in the case would have been lap 56—then the race is officially deemed completed with the result being classified as to where each car placed on the previous lap. This means Kobayashi’s lap 56 pass of Bianchi didn’t count costing the Caterham driver P17 for the race.

The points-paying positions didn’t change, however, but it was an odd mix up and nearly caught Mercedes driver and race-winner Lewis Hamilton out as AUTOSPORT reports:

“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.”

The cars all ran a 56-lap race regardless of the error but the classification was based upon the lap 54 results across timing & scoring.

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:36:52.810.
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 00:18.686.
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, + 00:25.765.
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 00:26.978.
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 00:51.012.
6. Nico Huelkenberg, Force India, + 00:57.581.
7. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 00:58.145.
8. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 01:23.990.
9. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 01:26.489.
10. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1 lap.
11. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1 lap.
12. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1 lap.
13. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1 lap.
14. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1 lap.
15. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1 lap.
16. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1 lap.
17. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 1 lap.
18. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, 1 lap.
19. Max Chilton, Marussia, 2 laps.
20. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, 2 laps.
21. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 28 laps.
22. Adrian Sutil, Sauber, 51 laps.

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