Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen both retired late in the race to bring the total number of casualties to eight.
The result, with title rival Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 28 points, could be terminal to Vettel’s hopes of winning a fifth world title.
He took the chequered flag almost 4-1/2 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas clinched the other podium spot. Although he has failed to finish on the podium four times for Mercedes this season, that is the same number as Vettel’s finishes outside the top three.
“I think he probably couldn’t see that Kimi was the other side of Max”, Horner said. I capitalised on the incident.
But Hamilton shot off after the restart to maintain the gap from Ricciardo and as he finally took the chequered flag, the grandstand came to its feet and fireworks lit up the night sky. The field opened up perfectly for the British driver to seal his third straight win, seventh of the season and 60th overall.
But the 32-year-old was gifted a miracle when Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen were involved in a severe crash at the start of the race. Raikkonen surged ahead of the Red Bull, but pressed against the concrete pit wall, his right-rear tyre made contact with Verstappen’s front-left. “It was about delivering the best possible race”.
After widespread criticism of the statement, Ferrari added: “What we tweeted was a factual description of events”.
“Nothing we can do now”. For sure it is bitter but it is done.
Hamilton had a ringside seat for the carnage, which brought out the safety auto, and calmly tip-toed his way into a lead he would not relinquish.
Vettel started from pole position while Raikkonen was fourth on the grid, but a great launch from the Finn saw him challenging for the lead toward Turn 1.
Australian Ricciardo had been confident of victory, despite missing out on pole on Saturday but could not keep up with the Briton’s pace on Sunday.
On the flight home, on Mercedes’ chief executive Niki Lauda’s private jet, Hamilton held a live five minute Instagram forum for his 4.8m followers.
Lewis Hamilton said he was struggling to believe his victory in a “crazy” Singapore Grand Prix that put him in control of the title race. “I’m trying. I’m a little bit disappointed to miss out on the win but I’m still going to be grateful and happy with another podium”.
Instead, it was a better weekend for Carlos Sainz and the two Force India drivers, who benefitted from the misfortune of others.