2017 Singapore Grand Prix
- Sunday, September 17, 2017
- Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix
- F1 World Championship
So, in a split-second the championship might have just turned. Sebastian Vettel suffered a 25-point loss to the man he could least afford it to, Lewis Hamilton. By his own hand.
What he was thinking in the split-second that he decided to swoop across the faster-starting Max Verstappen isn’t certain – and his account of it was less than full. Was he simply trying to block off the Red Bull before it got ahead in his patented aggressive way, not realising there was a third car inside the one he was squeezing, like at Spa last year? Or – and here’s an intrigue – was it actually the rocket-starting Räikkönen, who was on-course to catapult into the lead, he was trying to intimidate into backing off, incorrectly believing he was far enough clear of Verstappen to be able to cut across him towards the other Ferrari? Study of the incident supports either scenario.
So the pincered Red Bull flicked Räikkönen into the side of Vettel, puncturing the latter’s oil rads. As the locked-together Räikkönen and Verstappen crashed out, Vettel’s Ferrari was still leading but mortally wounded and as he spun on his own oil between turns two and three, Hamilton – who’d out-accelerated Daniel Ricciardo off the line and swooped for the outside line as the carnage unfolded – swept by into a lead he’d never lose.