Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Formula One: Hamilton wins crucial, chaotic Singapore GP

Confident Vettel leaves Hamilton needing 'miracle' I didn't see that much - Vettel blindsided by early Singapore crash
Lucia Summers | 17 September, 2017, 19:35

Sebastian Vettel was just as fortunate as he was fearless on his way to a stunning pole position in Saturday's qualifying for the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix.

The Briton cashed in after Vettel, Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's front row contender Max Verstappen smashed into each other as they raced off the wet starting grid and into the first corner.

But it was Vettel's withdrawal that handed Mercedes driver Hamilton the initiative as the Briton, who started fifth on the grid, led after the safety vehicle went back in.

After it went in Hamilton had no trouble in pulling away from Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull, despite many expecting the Australian to mount a challenge, with Valtteri Bottas completing the podium places.

"I've got no idea -- and that is the concern I've always had with this race", Romain Grosjean told Autosport.com earlier, when asked if it would be safe to race in the rain. He started squeezing me, maybe he didn't see Kimi on the left. "No power, we are going to have to stop", he reported over the team radio.

In contrast, Verstappen moved to lay the blame at Vettel's door.

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"Obviously we are not in the race, that's a pity, we can't show the pace that we have".

"I capitalized on the incident", Hamilton said.

Further round the lap, Vettel, whose auto was not fatally damaged in the incident lost control and spun out. "But I'm sure there'll be more opportunities". "I'm trying", he said afterwards.

After a few laps behind the safety vehicle, the race resumed for real on lap 7. "If you are fighting for the world championship you shouldn't take those risks squeezing someone that much", he said. Remarkably, Alonso was able to continue despite his McLaren having effectively been disembowelled, with entrails hanging from its left hand side, and ran just outside the points until the inevitable happened on lap nine and he was forced to retire. The safety auto was also deployed on lap 11 when Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat crashed into the barriers.

The safety auto came out again, after Marcus Ericsson's Sauber stalled on lap 39.

Fortunately the pit lane was only a few metres away from the scene of the accident, allowing for a quick turnaround of the Brazilian's auto, but the work was in vain, with the Williams vehicle too uncompetitive to make it out of Q1.

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