Vettel blamed for Singapore crash and Senna ‘talks’ to Hamilton

What we learnt from an action-packed F1 Singapore Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari crash Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel (No. 5) and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen (No. 7) crash out of the Singapore Grand Prix
(Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton may have won the Singapore Grand Prix but there’s only one thing being talked about in Formula 1 this morning - the spectacular first-lap crash involving the two Ferrari drivers and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

F1’s night race in Singapore is often most memorable for its backdrop, parties and concerts, but the action on the track was equally exciting this year.

The drama occurred on the first corner when Sebastian Vettel collided with Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Verstappen. The incident meant all three were forced out of the race - leaving Hamilton to take the lead.

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The Mercedes star’s victory - which the BBC’s Andrew Benson called “masterful” - extends his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 28 points, with six races left this season.

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Verstappen blames Vettel for Singapore crash

In an in-depth analysis of the race on the BBC website, Benson asks: has Vettel’s aggression just lost him the title? Citing the success of Vettel’s “signature move” in the past, Benson says that while it usually works to his advantage, this time it “could have cost him a world championship”.

There is disagreement about who was to blame for the Singapore crash, and race stewards decided to take no further action after investigating the incident. A statement said: “No driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.”

However, Red Bull’s Verstappen laid the blame fully on Vettel. “Mainly Sebastian started squeezing me,” the Dutch driver told the BBC. “Maybe he did not see Kimi on the left, but that is not an excuse. He shouldn’t take those risks.”

Writing in The Times, Mark Webber blames both Vettel and his teammate Raikkonen for the crash. Webber said: “If you were pushed for someone to blame then it looks like Seb, because he’s the one doing the biggest movement, but in the end, he wasn’t the one who crashed into Max. It was Kimi who crashed into Max. Max was innocent in this.”

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Hamilton inspired by Senna

With a 28-point lead going into the Malaysian Grand Prix, on 1 October, Hamilton said things could not have gone better for Mercedes in Singapore, where the team’s Valtteri Bottas finished third.

“[It] couldn’t be a more perfect scenario for us,” Hamilton told The Guardian. “I definitely won’t change anything. Because it’s working. Whatever it is with the approach that I have, there’s no reason to change it.

“It’s a perfect balance of being aggressive and cautious at the same time. The formula works at the moment, so I’ll just continue with it.”

The 32-year-old British champion revealed that he has been taking inspiration from his boyhood hero, the late Ayrton Senna.

The wet conditions on the Marina Bay circuit were tricky for the drivers, but Hamilton said he drew lessons from Senna’s crash at the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix, which he was comfortably leading.

“I could have easily just binned it,” said Hamilton. “Every now and then Senna pops into my mind. The Monaco Grand Prix where he was obviously in the lead and hit the wall, that always comes in and reminds me not to do that.

“I’ve had experiences like that, but I learnt that lesson. That always just comes in and reminds me in the back of my mind. It’s almost like he talks to me - just stay focused, keep it together.”

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