The Chinese Grand Prix ended early when a track marshal showed the checkered flag one lap too soon. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Chinese Grand Prix ended early when a track marshal showed the checkered flag one lap too soon. (Photo: Getty Images)

had yet another dominant performance in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, but an odd turn of events at the end of the race had the Mercedes driver questioning himself.

Hamilton had an 18s lead over teammate when he was shown the checkered flag at the end of Lap 55 – one lap before it should have been displayed.

“That was very strange. I was thinking, `Am I seeing things?’ I looked up, I was coming across the line expecting to do another lap and, all of a sudden, I looked for a split second and I saw the flag,” Hamilton said.

“I did lose a second or so. I asked the team, they said no, so I just kept going. Very, very strange. It was good to do another lap.”

According to regulations (article 43.2), if the checkered flag is shown early, the results will be backdated to the previous lap. In this case, the finishing order was pulled from Lap 54 of the scheduled 56 laps.

The regulation states: “Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given.”

Only and were affected by the mistake. Kobayashi’s last-lap pass for 17th on Bianchi was erased and he was relegated to 18th – but it had no real impact as the FIA does not award points for drivers outside of the top 10.

As for Hamilton, nothing was going to eliminate his commanding lead. He went on to secure his third consecutive victory ahead of Rosberg and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Hamilton now trails Rosberg by four points in the World Championship battle.

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