Sebastian Vettel revealed Sunday that he was concerned about the dangers of a possible track invasion when the chequered flag was waved prematurely before he won the Canadian Grand Prix. The flag was waved by model Winnie Harlow who said she was just “following instructions”, but it meant the result of the race was decided by the positions at the end of lap 68 instead of lap 70.
Vettel said he realised what had happened on the penultimate lap and sent a radio message to try and help avoid confusion.
“Fortunately, we had radio and we had the lap counter in the car and my pit board was accurate,” said the four-time world champion Ferrari driver. “But if you lose radio and maybe the pit board is not there, then you back off and being in the lead, you hope all the others back off as well. I was just worried. I told them on the last lap, so people don’t jump on the track, waving flags and celebrating, because we are still going at full pace. I even watched it on the TV, on a trackside screen, and after I saw the flag it said ‘final lap’ on the graphics so then I was a bit confused. I told them the race isn’t over yet and they said ‘no, keep pushing’ and I saw some of the marshals were celebrating. They peaked a bit early!”
Frenchman Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso, who finished 11th, said the flag’s early appearance was “risky”.
He added: “I think it is the first time I have taken the chequered flag two times at the same race!”
Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units
The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.
The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).
The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.
The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.
While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.
Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.
How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.
The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.
This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.