Daniel Ricciardo loses fastest lap over model's bizarre early flag

Daniel Ricciardo has missed out on recording the fastest lap of the Canadian Grand Prix after the flag was waved early by Winnie Harlow.

The model and friend of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was given the task of closing the Montreal race.

But a mistake from the marshals meant laps 69 and 70 were invalidated after Harlow played her part.

Formula One race director Charlie Whiting said the error was caused by simple miscommunication between the official starter and crew in the starter’s tower.

“It was a miscommunication between the start platform and the guy they call the starter here,” explained Whiting.

“He thought it was the last lap and asked them at the top to confirm it, they confirmed it. They thought he was making a statement when in fact he was asking a question.

Winnie Harlow wasn’t to blame. Pic: Instagram

“He told the flag waver to wave it a lap early. It was as simple as that, it wasn’t anything to do with the fact it was a celebrity flag waver.

“The celebrity was not to blame.

Harlow reacted to the incident in an Instagram post after the race.

“WHEN THEY TELL YOU TO WAVE THE FLAG A LAP TOO EARLY! You had one job sir!!! Hahaha but so grateful everyone was safe today and no one got hurt!”

Ricciardo was told the incident had wiped out his fastest lap in an interview with Sky Sports – and he was suitably shocked.

Oh no. Pic: Sky Sports

The victory was routine for race winner Sebastian Vettel but he appeared frustrated by the incident in a message over the team radio.

“Fortunately we had radio, fortunately I had the lap count in the car and the pitboard was accurate – but if you lose radio and maybe the pitboard is not there, then you back off,” said Vettel after notching his 50th career win.

“I was just worried, I told them also on the last lap, then people don’t jump on the track, waving flags and celebrating, because we’re still going at full pace.”

All drivers kept racing to the expected end but there were no overtakes to end what was a dour event.

“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,” reads article 43.2 of the regulations.

It is the first time since the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix that such a situation has occurred.

Brazilian soccer great Pele famously reacted too late when Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit in 2002, brandishing the flag instead as the later finishers appeared.

“We need to review procedures and make sure we have a very simple procedure for every circuit,” added Whiting.

“We’re dealing with different human beings, different countries, different languages and it’s not always absolutely perfect.”

with AAP