Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting says supermodel Winnie Harlow is not to blame for the mix-up that led to the chequered flag being waved one lap early during Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Harlow was invited to wave the flag at the end of the race, only for a miscommunication to lead to it being shown at the end of Lap 69 instead of the end of Lap 70.

As a result, the final classification was taken from the end of Lap 68, and although it had no bearing on the finishing positions of any driver, it cost Daniel Ricciardo the fastest lap that was set after Harlow had waved the flag.

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The supermodel and friend of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was subject to criticism on social media following the mistake, but Whiting explained that she had been given an incorrect instruction by officials looking after her.

“The chequered flag was shown a lap early because there was a miscommunication between the start platform and the guy that they call the starter, the guy that starts and finishes the races,” Whiting explained.

“He thought it was the last lap, he asked race control to confirm it, they confirmed it. He thought he was making a statement when in fact he was asking a question.

“He told the flag waver to wave it a lap early, so it wasn’t anything to do with the fact it was a celebrity flag waver.”

The incident was similar to one at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix when the flag was waved early, and the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix when football legend Pele failed to wave it at all.

However, Whiting said there was no consideration to stop using celebrities or public figures to wave the chequered flag as a result of the mix-up, instead focusing on other areas for improvement.

“The celebrity was not to blame, so I don’t think that is anything we need to consider, certainly not at the moment anyway,” Whiting said.

“We might need to look at other things, like the amount of people that get up there. Sometimes that can be quite difficult.

“It’s the same at the start, you often get people up at the start and they tend to bring friends with them, and it gets busy up there.”

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