Chequered flag shown one lap early at Japanese Grand Prix, investigation begins

F1 rules mean positions calculated at end of lap 52 and not the full race distance of 53 laps at Suzuka

Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas takes the checkered flag to win during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on October 13, 2019. / AFP / POOL / Kim Hong-Ji
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World motorsport body Fia launched an investigation after the chequered flag was shown a lap early at Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The error means that under Formula One rules the finishing positions and points will be calculated at the end of lap 52, and not the full race distance of 53 laps at Suzuka.

It turned out to be good news for Racing Point's Sergio Perez who crashed at the start of lap 53 while in ninth position. As a result of the mistake, he is now classified as finishing and with two championship points.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth on what he thought was the final lap but has now been pushed back to 10th while Racing Point's Lance Stroll –– who crossed the actual finish line 10th at the end of lap 53 – dropped to 11th and scored no points.

At the top, Valtteri Bottas jumped from third to first with an electric start to win the Japanese GP ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. The result meant Mercedes clinched their sixth successive drivers-constructors world championship double.

"I'm happy, very happy," said Bottas. "Starting third isn't easy. I had a really nice start, managed to get the lead and then the pace was super good, I could really control the race," he added.