Shanghai’s flagging competence

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In international educational surveys, the Shanghainese usually come out well in mathematics. So Lewis Hamilton may have been a bit surprised at an inability to count laps at last Sunday’s Grand Prix. In a fairly extraordinary gaffe the chequered flag was waved one lap too early at the Formula One race in the city. Rather than being flourished after the British driver crossed the finish line on the 56th lap, it was unfurled at the end of the 55th. “I thought I was starting my last lap and I glanced up and saw something waving and realised it was the chequered flag,” Hamilton told The Guardian newspaper. “I lifted [the power] and lost about a second and a half but the team said: ‘No, no. Keep going.’” Fortunately for the organisers, it didn’t have a material impact on the race outcome, as Hamilton was 18 seconds ahead of second-placed Nico Rosberg.

But he still said the error could have cost him the race: “If the radio had failed or something and I had slowed down and Nico came past, that would really have sucked. Thank God, it didn’t. It was very, very strange. I was thinking: ‘Am I seeing things?’ But it was good to do another lap.”

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