Sport

Verstappen thinks Vettel must take blame for their Singapore Grand Prix crash

Verstappen thinks Vettel must take blame for their Singapore Grand Prix crash”

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning a fourth Formula One world championship received a huge boost yesterday after a spectacular four-car crash at the first corner led to a surprise victory for the British driver.

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen sandwiched Red Bull's Max Verstappen as all three collided in the rain before Turn One, with the latter two coming together again at that juncture.

Hamilton surged to the front - with Red Bull's Ricciardo also a beneficiary - and a timely reminder from his team to get the auto home in one piece was heeded, making last year's runner-up the heavy favourite for the title with six rounds to go, even after Marcus Ericsson's spin led to another outing from the safety vehicle.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, who ahead of the weekend said the Marina Bay track would suit rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, described the team's performance in Singapore as its "yearly wake up call". "Fantastic job with the team strategy", Hamilton said over the radio, before leaping out of his vehicle and hugging his engineers. I don't think it was a racing incident.

"God blessed me today, for sure", he said later.

Sergio Perez was fifth and Jolyon Palmer, still digesting the news that he has been replaced by Sainz at Renault next season, placed sixth - also his best result in F1.

Vettel started the race on pole.

All the three vehicles spun on the track and Lewis Hamilton was the gainer.

While the three leaders were out on the spot, Alonso tried to continue after the resulting safety auto, but his McLaren was too damaged and he had to retire.

The different concepts that Mercedes and Ferrari adopted this year have led to swings in form - with Mercedes' longer wheelbase auto dominant at high speed tracks such as Silverstone and Monza, and Ferrari better on tight circuits including Monaco and Singapore.

Vettel appeared to get away with the incident and retained the lead into turn one, but the German was in the wall again on the run down to turn five after losing control of his SF70H, removing his front wing.

Having built on that advantage, championship leader Hamilton was frustrated by the reappearance of the safety auto on lap 11 when Daniil Kvyat drove into the barriers.

"We had years like in 2015 where we were 1.5 seconds off the leaders in a year where we have dominated".

"Why another safety auto?"

But Hamilton shot off after the restart to maintain the gap from Ricciardo and as he finally took the checkered flag, the grandstand came to its feet and fireworks lit up the night sky.



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