Lewis Hamilton extends championship lead
Vettel crashes out at rain-affected race
Daniel Ricciardo finishes second, Bottas third
Lewis Hamilton said he would need a “miracle” to win the Singapore Grand Prix and so the rain gods delivered as he clinched a third consecutive victory of the season at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.
Hamilton, who started fifth on the grid after a lackluster qualifying on Saturday, profited after chaos reigned at the start of the night race as both Ferrari’s crashed out.
Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen collided on the run down to Turn One before the Finn plowed into the side of pole-sitter Vettel. The German continued only to spin off moments later at Turn Five, his car smashing into the barriers, coolant spewing from its rear.
Both Verstappen’s and Raikkonen’s race was also over – so too was Fernando Alonso’s who got caught up in the incident after making a fast start from P8. The Spaniard limped on before retiring on lap nine.
The resulting carnage flung open a door through which Hamilton gratefully drove, followed by Daniel Ricciardo who would take second place with Hamilton’s Mercedes’ teammate Valtteri Bottas in third.
‘God blessed me today…’
It was the Briton’s 60th win of his career and his seventh of the 2017 season which all means that Hamilton now has a 28-point lead over Vettel with 14 rounds of the 2017 season complete.
“Firstly, I want to congratulate my team,” Hamilton said on the podium. “Yesterday we struggled and we had no idea what was going to happen. Obviously we were fortunate with the Ferraris at the beginning.
“God blessed me today, for sure. Who knew that would happen? It was really unfortunate for Ferrari – I was hoping to race Sebastian at the beginning. But of course it’s better the way it is,” the three-time world champion added.
Debate about who was to blame for the collision started in earnest before the race was over.
Max Verstappen told reporters: “I think Sebastian started squeezing me – maybe he didn’t see Kimi but that’s no excuse,” while Ferrari took a different view, tweeting: “VER took #Kimi7 out and then he went on to #Seb5”
Vettel himself was keen to play down the incident.
“Not ideal is it?” he said, responding the reporters. “I didn’t see that much. I saw Max and then Kimi hitting the side of me. This is how this business is. We move on. I’m sure there will be more opportunities.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen’s teammate chose, perhaps wisely, to sit on the fence.