Reuters

Lewis Hamilton claims huge victory in Singapore after dramatic early Sebastian Vettel crash

Hamilton claims huge victory in Singapore after dramatic early Vettel crash

17/09/2017 at 14:01Updated 17/09/2017 at 19:52

Lewis Hamilton claimed a stunning victory at the Singapore Grand Prix after pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel crashed out following huge early drama.

Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen both crashed out at turn one while Vettel sustained significant damage to his Ferrari in a dramatic start to the race in very difficult conditions at the Marina Bay Circuit.

Vettel's car was left badly damaged from the early clash with Raikkonen and Verstappen and the pole-sitter crashed out himself on lap two, spinning into a wall away from the leading pack as Hamilton assumed a shock lead.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street CircuitGetty Images

Hamilton was immediately told that "this race is all about getting the car home in one piece" by his Mercedes team as he suddenly found himself in the lead amid the chaos - and he did that and more.

"God blessed me today for sure," said Hamilton. "I came here today really thinking it was about damage limitation, and we’ve come out ahead. So I’m very grateful..

"To come to a track that was potentially our weakest circuit, and come away with a win like this and those points, it’s really such a fortunate scenario...so I definitely have a skip in my step."

The Brit held a four-second lead over Daniel Ricciardo with two minutes remaining of the rain-affected race, and closed it out to clinch an unexpected - and hugely significant - triumph with Valtteri Bottas taking third place.

"What an awesome drive!" Hamilton was told over his team radio after sealing the win, and he responded by saying, "What an incredible turnaround!" with his delight obvious having started the day behind Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in SingaporeGetty Images

It was Hamilton's seventh victory in 2017 and third in Singapore as Vettel suffered a massive blow in the World Championship standings.

"It's bitter but it's done," said Vettel.

"Championship-wise it’s a big step forward," recognised Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. "The quickest car and the quickest driver were out within a minute into the race and that can happen all the time.

"Today we benefited from their misfortune, it happened to us in the past."

Hamilton now leads the championship standings by 28 points over Vettel, following the German's dramatic early retirement.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street CircuitGetty Images

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