The incident took Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen out on the spot, as well as the unfortunate Fernando Alonso, while Sebastian Vettel's car was heavily damaged and he crashed out moments later.
Verstappen blamed Vettel, the Ferrari drivers shrugged their shoulders, and the stewards decided to take no action.
Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Gp Singapore, Getty Images
Image credit: Getty Images
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F1 fans have been debating the subject at length since the race, and here is a selection of comments from the Autosport Forum:
amedeofelix: "I'm not blaming anyone. Seb's move was predictable. However, like I said elsewhere I do have an issue with Max's opinion that it was Seb who needed to look out. I prefer the old style where those NOT going for a title would avoid crashing into those who are. I also think Max should think more about getting to the end of races for his team."
MattK9: "It can only be a matter of time before the start line chop is outlawed. As proved yesterday you simply cannot be aware of everyone around you or someone on the far side of the car you are trying to chop up.
"I don't want to pick on Vettel but Japan 2011 comes to mind when he ran JB [Jenson Button] off the road on the way down to the first corner. I'm sure there are many other examples as well. It is crowding cars off of the race track and he should have a penalty really. Grosjean got a race ban from Spa 2012 which was a chop across the front of another car. Vettel gets no penalty, again. Does not compute!"
fastest: "I think Verstappen is at fault here. Not going to be apologetic about it. Max squeezes Kimi in an attempt to cover him off, but he was way too late. This causes for the rear wheels to touch. Only after they touch wheels is Kimi's car angled to the right. This happened because the touch caused for Kimi's right rear to spin slower for a fraction of a second than the left, which made his car steer to the right.
"So very poor judgment on behalf of Max to try and cover Kimi off when it was just way too late. Kimi was already beside him. And this contact between Max and Kimi was the cause of everything. Vettel was nowhere near Max at that time, and has nothing to do with the initial collision. Yes it was silly of him to cut to the left so aggressively, but Max would have taken Kimi out anyway. So Vettel basically only screwed himself.
"Max had a lot of bad luck this season, but he is also starting to make bonehead mistakes himself now. I'll say this, Max in his rookie year at Toro Rosso was much more mature and clever on track. Always kept his nose clean, especially during starts. This season not so much..."
Balnazzard: "Look at the direction Vettel was heading... if Max and Kimi hadn't touched each other, it clearly looks to me as Vettel would have collided with Kimi and Verstappen might have just escaped that and taken the lead.
"But really had Vettel not made that move, the worst case scenario for him would have been P3 after the first corners behind Kimi and Max... then all he would have needed was to overtake Max during pitstops and then at the end team orders would have come into play to get him to P1."
Tsarwash: "Hands up all of us who thought there was going to be some kind of big accident at the first corner? Yep, almost all of us. And again, hands up who thought that it was going to involve Max at some point? Again, a good majority, I suspect.
"Maybe this move was Seb's attempt to pre-empt a dangerous, crazy move by Max, but really there was always a strong likelihood of something happening at the first corner and the wise thing to do would be to have made as much space between yourself and the carnage behind as possible, not to squeeze the following cars together to increase the chance of said carnage."
Andy35: "I have to say at full speed they have very little time to rationally think about it once the events start to happen.
"One thing we can agree with is the cars were very close together. Given the conditions I am surprised Seb was happy to move over right to put pressure on rather than just stay out of trouble and then see how it went. Costly.
"Very unfortunate for Alonso after very good first 100m.
cpbell: "I'd love to hear what Lauda thinks about this, as, during his driving career, he was known for playing the percentages when in contention for the championship, which Vettel singularly failed to do yesterday."
Gareth: "[Vettel] missed seeing where Kimi was, using a wing mirror the size of a mobile phone and with rather large plumes of spray coming up from his and Max's car. A mistake, clearly - but hardly the most egregious one ever. The consequences for that mistake, for both him and the other 3 drivers involved, were way out of proportion to the magnitude of the mistake.
"I thought it was pretty unlucky for all involved. Similar to Spain T1 this year, really. Just a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances where you can pretty much understand every driver's decision but it takes a bunch of them out."
CountDooku: "It is possible for the accident to be a racing incident and also Vettel's fault. He got enough punishment for crashing himself out and I don't think he deserves a further penalty.
"The chop is a very valid start defence technique but a) it must be predictable b) you must have perfect understanding of your surroundings c) you must be aware that you are taking a huge risk d) you must know your opponent and lastly e) you do not take such a massive risk when fighting for the championship!!!"
RedBaron: "It doesn't particularly bother me, but I am surprised Vettel got no penalty for taking out Raikkonen, Verstappen and Alonso due to an aggressive start move squeeze.
"Aggressive moves are fine, I wouldn't want to see them gone. However when as a result of that move you take a number of cars out the race to me it seems you need to be punished, that's the risk you take when you are aggressive. It may cross the line one way or another or it may work wonders for you.
"Taking himself out of the race isn't really punishment, that is just a result of his actions. Be lenient on the punishment baring that in mind, but a punishment should still be served. If Vettel had taken Hamilton out too, would his 'self punishment' in terms of being out of the race be sufficient? No, that argument would not stand.
"I would like to see in 2018 fair punishments handed out regardless if the driver is in the championship fight."
paulrobs: "It was only a matter of time before a brutal chop at the start of a race ended in an accident like this. I'm surprised it hasn't happened before. Vettel was clearly at fault for executing the chop without any regard to any other driver. Most of the time drivers get away with it but not this time.
"At a circuit where Ferrari and Vettel in particular needed to maximise their points haul they came away with nothing and 28 points behind with only a maximum of 150 at stake is quite a deficit given the reliability of these cars.
"I'm disappointed that the stewards judged it to be a racing incident because they're effectively saying it's OK to chop like this and cause an accident at the start of a race. This cannot and shouldn't be right."
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