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Flags guide

Flag signals are a vital part of the running of a Grand Prix. They are the only way that race officials can communicate directly with the drivers.

They tell a driver of danger, success and failure.

Learning what they mean is one of the first things a young driver has to do - and they are as relevant to a novice as to Lewis Hamilton.

Chequered flagCHEQUERED FLAG
The race has ended.
Shown first to the winner, and then to every car to cross the line behind them.

Red flagRED FLAG
The race has been stopped, usually because a car is lying in a dangerous position after an accident or because conditions are too poor for racing to be safe.

Yellow flagYELLOW FLAG
Indicates danger ahead and overtaking is prohibited. A single waved yellow flag means slow down, a double waved yellow warns that the driver must be prepared to stop if necessary.

Blue flagBLUE FLAG
Shown to a driver to indicate that a faster car is behind him and trying to overtake. Shown both to lapped cars and those racing. A lapped car must allow the faster car past after seeing a maximum of three blue flags or risk being penalised. A racing car is under no obligation to move over.

Black flagBLACK FLAG
Shown with a car number to indicate that the driver must call into the pits immediately, usually because he has broken the rules and will be disqualified.

Red and yellow striped flagRED AND YELLOW STRIPED FLAG
The track is slippery. This usually warns of oil or water on the track.

Green flagGREEN FLAG
A hazard has been cleared up and the cars can proceed at racing speed.

Black flag with an orange discBLACK FLAG WITH AN ORANGE DISC
Shown with a car number to indicate that the car has a mechanical problem and the driver must return to his pit immediately.

Black and white diagonal halves flagWHITE AND BLACK DIAGONAL HALVES
Shown with car number to indicate a warning for unsportsmanlike behaviour. A black flag may follow if the driver takes no heed of the warning.

White flagWHITE FLAG
Warns of a slow-moving vehicle on the track, such as a tow truck or safety car.

 
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