Singapore Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton needs 'a miracle' from fifth on grid

Kimi Raikkonen will start fourth on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix- Credit Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen will start fourth on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix- Credit Scuderia Ferrari

Raikkonen was spun around and hit Vettel, before colliding again with Verstappen, with Fernando Alonso's McLaren also caught up in the melee.

Hamilton, who started only fifth and had claimed that he needed a miracle to win, led every lap of a chaotic race which saw the safety vehicle deployed on three occasions.

Race Control will talk to the drivers and assess footage before dishing out any subsequent penalties.

The damage to his auto was evident, but it remains to be seen if the damage done to his title chances can be repaired.

"Then the next thing there was a bump on the side and I saw Kimi's auto, so I don't know what happened".

"I capitalized on the incident", Hamilton said.

However, the three-time world champion refused to wilt under pressure from Daniel Ricciardo to claim a third race win in a row, with the Australian and Valtteri Bottas completing the podium.

"God blessed me today, for sure", he said later, dripping with champagne.

All three drivers were forced out of the race, allowing Hamilton to take the lead behind a safety vehicle.

"It's a long race but we are on the wrong side of the track so that doesn't help".

But Hamilton dodged the pile-up and he progressed from fifth on the grid to first, ahead of Ricciardo, as the race finally restarted after a safety vehicle.

When asked after the incident if he felt the race should have been started under the Safety Car, Vettel replied: "I don't know". But no driver was deemed responsible and no further action was taken.

"When you're fighting for a world championship you shouldn't do that", the 19-year-old Dutchman said.

Force India's Sergio Perez complained of poor grip on his final run, which left him P12 and ahead of Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso in P13.

Hamilton was among the ten drivers to favour intermediates from the start - as had the top four qualifiers and team-mate Bottas in sixth - but he remained amongst the most cautious when it came to seeking a change.

Mercedes declined to pit Hamilton under the safety vehicle but after the restart, he reeled off a string of fastest laps on the slowly drying track, extending his lead over Ricciardo.

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