Updated: 02/05/2014 06:34 | By Press Association

Flag mix-up can't stop Hamilton



Lewis Hamilton holds his champion trophy during the prize presentation on the podium after the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix (© AP)

Lewis Hamilton holds his champion trophy during the prize presentation on the podium after the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix (AP)

For the first time in Lewis Hamilton's Formula One career he has now taken the chequered flag for three consecutive races, even though the one in China caused confusion by being waved prematurely.

At the end of lap 55 of the 56-lap Chinese Grand Prix, a dominant Hamilton was shown the sport's traditional emblem as he crossed the line, and for a second he allowed himself to pause.

If the race had been as close as it was a fortnight ago when he beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by exactly one second, such a lift off the gas could have proven extremely costly.

On this occasion, with an 18-second cushion to Rosberg, there was no cause for consternation, only a red face for the embarrassed flag bearer, understood to be mortified given his considerable experience.

Hamilton was quickly told by his team to complete the last lap, so taking the flag for a second time around 100 seconds later.

Under article 43.2 of the sporting regulations, however, the race has effectively been rewound by two laps, with the classification taken after lap 54.

The article reads: "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."

From his perspective inside the cockpit of his so far mercurial Mercedes, Hamilton said: "That was very strange!

"I thought: 'am I seeing things?' As I crossed the line expecting to do another lap, I looked up for a split second and I saw the flag.

"I lifted for a second, but I saw there was no-one on the wall (of the Mercedes pit who would be there to greet his win).

"I asked the team (whether the race had finished) and they said no, so I just kept going. Very, very strange.

"If I'd thought about slowing and the radio had failed, and then Nico came by, then that would have really sucked. Thank God it didn't."

Instead, Hamilton now has three successive wins to his name, and 25 in his career - with three of those in China - after leading from lights to flag.

Despite the string of wins, however, Hamilton still trails Rosberg by four points in the drivers' standings after the German again finished runner-up for the third consecutive time.

A technical failure in the season-opening race in Australia won by Rosberg is so far costing the Briton dear, but there was no doubting his delight at his latest success.

"I'm in the happiest mood I can remember being in," said Hamilton.

"I can't believe how amazing the car is, and with how hard everyone has worked; the results we are getting are because of that.

"It feels incredible to get three wins. I have to shout out a big thank you, thank you so much to the team, for embracing me into the team and for all the hard work and them continuously pushing forward.

"I'm so happy. I had such a great race, really enjoyed it, especially the last few laps.

"This team is on a roll, they've done a great job, but we're going to keep pushing, keep moving forwards and working hard because we know the others are going to keep pushing."

Not since 2005 and Renault has a team won the first four races of a season, with seemingly little threat being posed by their rivals.

Fernando Alonso lifted Ferrari on to the podium for the first time this season on Marco Mattiacci's debut as team principal.

Behind the Spaniard were the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, who at one stage disobeyed an order to allow by his team-mate.

It had to be explained to Vettel the scenario as to why he should do so, with the 26-year-old German eventually relinquishing, finishing fifth to leave him trailing Rosberg by 46 points.

Vettel said: "I moved over for Daniel once I knew we were on different strategies.

"When I was first asked, I didn't understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked.

"When the team said we were on a different strategy I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more I didn't have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back."

On a bad day for McLaren, Jenson Button could only manage 11th, with rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen 13th, whilst Marussia's Max Chilton was 19th of the 20 finishers.

69Comments
20/04/2014 10:47
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Well done and well deserved Lewis! One in the eye for all those who said he was a fool and would regret leaving Mclaren. His class and maturity shining through and the competition between him and Rosberg is a real joy to watch on track. Keep up the good work!
20/04/2014 11:15
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FANTASTIC !!! Lewis for bringing that silver arrow home on the top spot, also getting your first Hat-Trick.
Once again you've proved your critics wrong and you know how to do the business with a good car, a perfect drive.
Hats-Off to Mercedes for a 1-2 finish yet again, so well done Nico.

Enjoy your weekend Lewis you deserve it  Congratulations !

20/04/2014 11:55
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I'm not sure what I enjoyed the most. Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag or Sebastian Vettel being told to move over :)
20/04/2014 11:26
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Always said he was one of the best drivers around. Give him a car like Red Bull has had over the last 5 years reliable and he is just as good as the best around at present. Keep up the good work Mercedes.  Learn McLaren
20/04/2014 11:08
20/04/2014 11:45
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Well done Lewis, make it four in a row  :)
20/04/2014 17:05
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I have to say that if red bull had, had  a decent partner over the last 5 years he would not have won so many races . This new partner is making him look second rate, congrats lewis .


20/04/2014 11:19
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Congrats to Lewis who is making the most of Mercedes dominance at the moment and stamping his authority over Nico - he knows that these things are not guaranteed to last forever as Vettel seems to be finding out now. Well done Ricciardo
20/04/2014 17:57
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Its about time a British driver had a good spell in Formula One.
20/04/2014 15:31
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                            BRILLIANT DRIVE LEWIS, YOU HAVE NOW PROVED TO ALL YOUR CRITICS, THAT YOU ARE A FANTASTIC F1 -  DRIVER, IT IS A PLEASURE TO WATCH YOU DEMOLISH VETTEL, AND TAKE THAT SMILE OF HIS FACE, THE GREAT THING ABOUT YOU LEWIS IS -  "YOU ARE A WINNER". GIVEN THE CAR AND THE LUCK - YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE.
20/04/2014 15:55
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Another popcorntastic performance from the Mercedes team and a great show from their drivers, keep up the good work


20/04/2014 15:41
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    I see that Keith "WHITE" - is at it again, regarding the brilliant Lewis Hamilton's performance today - I wonder if his "name" has got anything to do with it  ?  he is stupid enough, for this to be the reason, that he keeps saying these silly things.
20/04/2014 19:22
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Woow amazing job Lewis keep up the good clean work!   Really enjoyable race what more can you ask for  amazing amazin and amazing again!

 

20/04/2014 16:25
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Go Lewis, l wish you all the best. Down with McLaren. Oh where is Button?
20/04/2014 13:34
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Fantastic....where is TK...getting a bit worried about him... Might just be Hamilton's ascendence and city's the opposite keeping him away.Hope so... Cant remember him going this long without posting...
20/04/2014 19:16
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Well done, both to the teams one-two and the drivers efforts. Rosberg being distracted by having to relay information back to the team meant his second place was pretty awesome as well.

Only one thing puzzles me. McLarens 2 cars both being lapped. How the heck did that happen?

21/04/2014 09:22
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  IN ANSWER TO - HUGH FERGUSON (FERGY 99) - YOU MAY BE RIGHT REGARDING MOST OF THE THE DRIVERS IN F1  PLAYING WITH THEIR "RICH BOYS" TOYS, BUT CERTAINLY NOT SO, IN LEWIS HAMILTON'S CASE - HIS DAD IS NOT A RICH MAN, HE HAD TWO JOBS, SO THAT LEWIS COULD BE A CHAMPION AT GO-CART RACING - THAT IS HOW "HE" LEARNED HIS TRADE.  
21/04/2014 11:05
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Well done Lewis and keep doing what you are good at. Those folks that dislike you for the wrong reason can now focus on other issues in your life i.e your hair style.

The season just started  and in my opinion Lewis and his team are the ones showing the others how it is done.

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Well done Lewis.


It's just a shame that the real motor racing event today was BTCC at Donington Park. Way better entertainment than F1, particularly the final race.

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