Shock Hamilton win after first-lap drama

September 17, 2017 2:10 PM

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Shock Hamilton win after first-lap drama

Cape Town - Lewis Hamilton has extended his World Championship lead to 28 points after taking full advantage of a chaotic start in wet conditions which left Sebastian Vettel's own title bid in pieces.

Vettel, Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen are all under investigation from the stewards as the Dutchman was caught in the middle of the two Ferraris and caused huge impact between all three.

Raikkonen lost his right rear and slammed into Verstappen again at Turn 1, which also collected Fernando Alonso, who retired later on.

Seconds later, Vettel, who sustained damage in the first collision, then lost his front wing and was left with no option but to retire.

It left Hamilton to breeze through all the chaos and dictate proceedings for the rest of the race which reached the two-hour limit before the full race distance was completed. Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas went on to complete the podium.

The Marina Bay circuit was hit by heavy rain showers on Sunday morning and the threatening clouds loomed ominiously above as darkness descended ahead of the race.

The rain got gradually heavier as the drivers lined up on the grid for lights out, forcing tyres to be switched to intermediates and full wets. The front three rows all opted for the former to begin with.

Once the lights went out, there was an absolute chaotic start as Verstappen was squeezed from either side by the two Ferraris, causing a huge collision on the run down to Turn 1.

Raikkonen lost a right rear tyre and as he tried to control his car again, shunted into Verstappen again, who subsequently went flying into the unfortunate Fernando Alonso trying to get past around the outside.

Seconds later, Vettel then lost his front wing and fluid was pouring out of the Ferrari, allowing Hamilton to negotiate his way through the carnage and storm through to the front. Vettel appeared to spark the whole chain of the events by veering to left trying to cover the Dutchman.

With Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen all retired and a clean-up operation underway, the race continued under Safety Car conditions for next four laps with Hamilton leading Ricciardo and Hulkenberg up to third. Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Jolyon Palmer completing the top six.

Palmer, on full wets, caught Bottas cold on the restart and moved up to P5 with a dart down the inside at Turn 1.

The rain begin to ease, meaning the intermediates were the best tyres to be on as the race settled down.

Hamilton soon got into the groove and opened up a handsome five second advantage to Ricciardo in second. But, after Fernando Alonso retired with terminal damage and Daniil Kvyat found the wall, the Safety Car came out for a second appearance.


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