The Canadian Grand Prix was cut short by two laps due to a mistake with the chequered flag being show early by celebrity guest Winnie Harlow.

The closing laps of the race ended in confusion when the chequered flag was shown at the end of lap 69 with leader Sebastian Vettel about to start his final lap of the scheduled 70-lap race.

As per FIA sporting regulations, if the chequered flag is shown early the race classification is recorded at the end of the last completed lap, lap 68, which denied any final-lap fights with a number of drivers set to battle for position.

Formula 1 organisers had Canadian supermodel Winnie Harlow to wave the ceremonial chequered flag but she was reportedly told to wave the flag too early.

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Race winner Sebastian Vettel, who warned his team about the mistake over his radio, says he was concerned fans would start the track invasion too early with cars still racing on the circuit.

“I was worried, I told them on the last lap so that people don’t jump on the track, waving flags and celebrating, because we’re still going at full pace,” Vettel said. “Fortunately, I had a lap count in the car and the pit board was accurate.

“If you lose radio and maybe the pit board is not there, then you back off and then being in the lead, you hope all the others back off as well.”

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Winnie Harlow has tweeted she had only been following instructions given to her by race organisers but was pleased to see it didn’t cause any safety issues.

While the final race order remained unchanged by the shortened race distance, the alteration did prevent Daniel Ricciardo from claiming the fastest lap of the race as his lap time was deleted which handed the honour to Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.

The incident was reminiscent of a similar gaffe at the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix when football icon Pele waved the chequered flag at the wrong driver.   

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