False flags: F1’s three other chequered flag blunders | 2018 Canadian Grand Prix stats and facts

Celebrity guest Canadian Grand Prix flag-waver Winner Harlow can claim she was in good company when she hung out the chequer too early under instruction from an official last Sunday.

The first occasion this happened in F1 was 40 years ago at the Argentinian Grand Prix. The culprit on that occasion was none other than local hero and five-times Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who mistook Ronnie Peterson’s fifth-place Lotus for that of his race-leading team mate Mario Andretti.

Two other races have been brought to an early ended due to hasty flag-waving since then. Alain Prost was shown the chequered flag a lap early when he won the British Grand Prix in 1985 and the same happened to Lewis Hamilton in China four years ago.

Last weekend it was Sebastian Vettel who won, scoring the 50th victory of his F1 career in Canada. That made him the fourth driver in F1 history to score a half-century of victories, joining Michael Schumacher, Prost and Hamilton.

Vettel’s victory was the 232nd for Ferrari. They now have 50 more than the next most successful team, McLaren, which has gone more than five years without winning a race. Williams, who are third on the list with 114, have been waiting almost as long.

It was Ferrari’s first win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 2004. They’d waited even longer for a pole position, but Vettel’s 54th career pole on Saturday ended their 17-year drought in Canada. Vettel also ended Hamilton’s run of three consecutive pole positions at this track.

It was a processional race to say the least. The top two places were occupied by the same two drivers all race long: Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. The last time this happened, in Mexico last year, Bottas also finished second.

Bottas took his fourth podium finish of the year in Canada, all of which have been second places. It’s worth reflecting again on how much that puncture in Azerbaijan cost him: without it he’d be only two points behind Hamilton and would have finished ahead of his team mate more often than not so far this year.

Although Hamilton could only manage fifth, his worst finishing position at this track, it was his 32nd consecutive points finish, which puts him five ahead of the previous record.

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There were no points for Fernando Alonso in his 300th appearance in a round of the world championship. He has only started 297 races, having not officially started the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix, 2005 United States Grand Prix and 2017 Russian Grand Prix. He should therefore reach his 300th F1 race start at Silverstone. That will also be his fifth race on consecutive weekends, as he makes his Le Mans 24 Hours debut on Saturday.

Jacques Villeneuve, Ferrari 312T3, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018Jacques in Gilles’s FerrariFerrari copped a bit of flak on social media before the race weekend began by using a picture of Toronto to represent Montreal. However first practice featured one driver from each city: Montrealer Lance Stroll was joined by Torontonian Nicholas Latifi, who was making his F1 race weekend debut.

This was the first time two Canadians appeared on-track together since qualifying for the 1981 season finale at Las Vegas, where Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve was joined by his brother Jacques.

The other Jacques Villeneuve – the 1997 world champion – did a pre-race demonstration run in the car his father used to win the race 40 years ago, at the track which is now named after the late Ferrari star.

With the Canadian Grand Prix behind us we are now one-third of the way through this 21-race season. All of the seven races so far have had the following things in common: Alonso has out-qualified Vandoorne, the pole sitter has kept the lead on lap one, Ericsson has not made it into Q2 and Grosjean and Sirotkin haven’t scored any points.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Canadian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

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2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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