Ferrari suffered a crushing blow to their title aspirations at the Singapore Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided heavily with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen as the field powered towards Turn 1.
Vettel managed a good start, but from fourth on the grid it was Raikkonen that found traction on the damp track and lunged between the wall and Verstappen as Vettel drifted to the inside.
Verstappen was squeezed with nowhere to go and was the meat in the Ferrari sandwich, inevitably there was contact.
Raikkonen flew across the track, out of control and a helpless passenger, rammed Vettel before bouncing onto the pit exit at speed he then collected Verstappen on the outside of Turn 1, who in turn tagged Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
Vettel resumed in the lead but there was clear damage on the left side-pod of his Ferrari and a few corners later it snapped out of control and smacked the wall, the car rolling in reverse for a hundred metres before it came to a halt. The incident triggering a yellow flag period as the debris was cleared.
When the dust settled Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen were out. Alonso recovered retired on lap nine no doubt as a result of the mayhem in which he was the innocent victim.
Vettel told reporters afterwards, “Not ideal is it. I didn’t see that much. I saw Max and then next thing I see is Kimi hitting the side of me and Max somewhere there.”
As for his world title bid, he said, “It’s how this business is. It doesn’t change much. We’re not in the race now and can’t show the pace that we had. I’m sure there will be more opportunities.”
The FIA race stewards summoned the three drivers for a chat after the race and later deemed that no driver was predominantly responsible for the cause of the pile-up.
Big winner was Mercedes driver and championship leader Lewis Hamilton who inherited the lead and stayed there until the end. His narrow three points lead in the championship over Vettel extended to a healthy 28 points advantage.
A bad day for Vettel and Ferrari, their title ambitions now very much in the hands of fate.