Hamilton takes big step towards fourth title

2017 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix

"It's not ideal is it", Vettel said.

The FIA stewards announced that the startline incident was under investigation, with a ruling expected after the race.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who also emerged from the opening lap carnage unscathed, was second for the third year in a row with Finland's Valtteri Bottas completing the podium for Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel heads into Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix brimming with confidence after a blistering run in qualifying while championship leader Lewis Hamilton is praying for a "miracle".

He said: 'I think I have damage on the front left.' The race engineer replied: 'Big damage on the sidepod, stop the vehicle.

"Obviously we are not in the race, that's a pity, we can't show the pace that we have". However, race control decided against taking the option of starting the race under the Safety Car.

Vettel was away slowly from pole, and looked to squeeze Verstappen, who had started alongside him in second.

"You might have to carry us out of the cars tomorrow but I'm sure I'll have a very strong race and get some big points".

"I am trying", said the Red Bull driver.

Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
Fernando Alonso reckons podium was guaranteed prior to crash

He said: "I didn't see that much".

Vettel and Verstappen were involved in heated incidents last season, and the ill feeling still seems to linger.

"If you are fighting for the title you shouldn't take those risks".

Some drivers had expressed concerns about visibility in the wet under floodlights, but the night race had hardly started when it lost three of the first four cars on the grid.

While Alonso was eventually forced to retire, this drive offered a reminder of why McLaren have been so desperate to keep him.

The safety auto came out again shortly after, as Daniil Kvyat crashed his Toro Rosso.

"Why another safety vehicle?"

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. It was too little too late for Valterri though as although he closed the gap he wasn't able to overtake Ricciardo.

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