DANIEL Ricciardo sailed to fourth place in the Canadian F1 Grand Prix, posting the fastest lap of on the last of the 70 laps – but later learnt it didn’t count, because of a chequered flag blunder.
Canadian model (and girlfriend of Lewis Hamilton) Winnie Harlow was given the task of waving the flag to end the race, but she did so prematurely, resulting in a lot of confusion and finger-pointing.
At the end of it all, the fastest lap honour went to Ricciardo’s teammate, Max Verstappen, who set it on lap 65, and Ricciardo’s faster lap was discredited because it came after the flag was waved on lap 69.
However, it might not have been Winnie’s fault.
The fashion model and activist with the rare vitiligo skin condition, later tweeted she was told to do so but was glad “no one was hurt.”
The drivers, however, well aware there was still a lap to go, ignored the flag and completed the full 70 laps.
The gaffe had no effect on the outcome.
There was a big shunt between Brendon Hartley in the Toro Rosso and the luckless Lance Stroll (Williams) on the first lap, but after the debris was cleared Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel continued from pole to take the win, and the lead in the driver’s championship.
It also gave Vettel his 50th career win and Ferrari’s first in Montreal since 2004.
Behind the German came Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) with the Red Bull Renaults of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo third and fourth.
Ricciardo said he was happy with his result.
“It’s pretty hard to overtake on this track,” he said.
“I’m happy I maximised the performance.”
But not a word about being robbed of the fastest lap.
Lewis Hamilton finished fifth place, his lowest this season.
He went to Montreal with a 14-point lead but is now one point behind arch rival Vettel.
Fernando Alonso had a miserable race,.
It was his 300th grand prix, but he had to retire his McLaren on lap 43.
Kimi Räikkönen was in sixth in the other Ferrari, with the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz seventh and eighth, Esteban Ocon drove his Force India to ninth, with Charles Leclerc 10th in the Sauber-Alfa.
Next Grand Prix is a Le Castellet on June 24.
Question is whether there will be a celebrity bird waving the chequered flag at the French circuit?
CHECKOUT: Ricciardo coaxes car across line
CHECKOUT: Ricciardo in la la land