On this day in 2002, Michael Schumacher came across the line to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, half-a-second ahead of his brother. He didn’t take the chequered flag though because Brazilian sporting hero Pelé was on flag-waving duty – and he missed the Ferrari going past him. Once he realised his error he did start to wave the flag, just as the lapped Jordan of Takuma Sato was crossing the line.
Now, for such a sophisticated sport, the chequered flag holds a lot of power – as recently as the 2014 Chinese GP a race was shortened by two laps because the flag was thrown early – so technically, Pelé’s mistake meant that Sato won the race.
Unusually for F1, common sense prevailed and Schumacher was declared the winner. Sato, robbed of a deserved victory, was left to enjoy ninth place, a result which derailed his entire championship challenge.