| 15.4°C Dublin

Flag mix-up can't halt Hamilton getting hat-trick

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 in Shanghai.

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.

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

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."

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.

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-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who at one stage disobeyed an order to allow by his team-mate.


Privacy