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Why does a driver in (say) 13 place have a checkered flag but positions 4-12 have no flag yet?

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    Can you give more details of when you saw this? The most likely situation is that those drivers have been lapped.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 4, 2021 at 18:14

3 Answers 3

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The reason for that is simple.

The race is over for any car crossing the finish line line after the winner and they cross the line in the order of cars on the track, which isn't necessarily the order on the scoreboard due to lapping of slow cars.

For example, if a slower car was lapped and is now between the first and second placed cars they will finish the race "together". The winner sees the chequered flag and so do all the following cars, regardless of how many laps they're behind. They will not be able to unlap those laps anymore and get ranked accordingly.

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This link on the BBC to Formula 1 Flags explains that the chequered flag is show to the race winner and every car behind them. The race is complete for those cars once the chequered flag is shown to them.

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Please refer to the image below. Consider that the brown line is the checkered flag. Then the car P1 position will have checkered flag sign along with P2 driver. This also involves for P13 car behind the P1 and P2 car because the car P13 and so on has been out-lapped by the leader. Hence, the driver will finish the race behind the leader but being outlapped.

Notice that P11 and P12 car has been pass the brown line but for them, it still not counted as 'finish' because the checkered flag that indicates the finish race will raise when the P1 driver has finish all the laps. So, when P11 and P12 drivers cross the brown line, the leader P1 still not touch the brown line that indicates the race has been finished.

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