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Flashback: Vettel’s disastrous Singapore 2017 start shunt

Charles Bradley

Two years ago, his title attack with Ferrari disintegrated after a startline collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and his own teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Now he arrives in Singapore after back-to-back wins for his current teammate, Charles Leclerc, and has faced vocal criticism again after his spin at Monza and clumsy rejoin, during which he collected the Racing Point of Lance Stroll.

But let’s take a look back at the 2017 edition, and remind ourselves of how it unfolded…

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, immediately prior to contact

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, immediately prior to contact Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H hits Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H hits Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Andrew Hone / LAT Images

The scenario: 

Vettel qualified on pole position, with title rival Lewis Hamilton – who was on a streak of back-to-back race wins – struggling down in fifth. Vettel had lost his championship lead in the preceding race at Monza, and was keen to redress an advantage.

Red Bull’s Verstappen qualified second, ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel’s Ferrari colleague Raikkonen.

A rain shower before the start only added to the drama, but the race began from a standing-start grid, rather than behind a safety car. As the lights went out, Raikkonen got by far the best getaway of the top four. He powered off the line and rocketed to the left-hand side of Verstappen. 

However, just as he was about to move ahead, his right-rear wheel hit Verstappen’s left-front. This was because Vettel had swerved to his left, pincering the Red Bull between the Ferraris. Verstappen had made the second-best start, so he too was alongside Vettel, and the three cars all made contact – with Raikkonen’s car (by now on three wheels) being flicked into a half-spin and cannoning into the left-side of Vettel’s car.

Although he actually led through the opening sequence of corners, Vettel would spin due to the damage further around the first lap.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, crashes out on the opening lap as Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, passes

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, crashes out on the opening lap as Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, passes Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, crashes out on the opening lap

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, crashes out on the opening lap Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

All three were elminated from the event, opening the door for Hamilton to win again and extend his points lead, an advantage he would retain to the end of the season.

In a poll of almost 2000 readers of James Allen on F1, 76% blamed Vettel for sparking the crash, with 17% calling it as a racing incident. Raikkonen was held least accountable at 2%, with 5% believing Verstappen was at fault.

What they said:

Vettel: “We did our start, everyone was trying to do his start, and then it ended up pretty bad for all three of us. It is part of racing. These things, they happen, not much you can do - so therefore not much point to try and look at them again and again.

"Every start is different and the way [it] happened you can look at it again and again, it is done. It was pretty unfortunate for all three of us, so we have to move on.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, after the crash

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, after the crash Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Verstappen was clear with who he blamed: “Mainly Sebastian. He started squeezing me, maybe he didn’t see Kimi on the left. That’s not an excuse – if you’re fighting for the world championship, you shouldn’t take those risks to squeeze someone that much.

“What does he expect? When you’re fighting for a world championship, you shouldn’t do that. It was not very clever. I tried to back out of it because I could see it coming, but the rear tyres are wider than the front so I couldn’t back out of it anymore.

“I was in the middle without doing anything wrong, I was just trying to have a clean start.”

Raikkonen, in true Kimi style, was merely phlegmatic about the whole episode: “I don’t think I could have done anything to change the end result apart from doing a bad start and not being there. And that’s not really my fault.”

F1's stewards took no action after a post-race investigation. But in terms of the world championship, it was a hammer blow to Vettel and Ferrari.

What would Vettel give for another pole here in 2019, and to get his season back on track…

2017 Singapore GP startline crash in pictures:

Grid

Grid Sutton Images

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race Sutton Images

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race Sutton Images

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H collides, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and into Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H collides, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and into Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashes into Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing after the checkered flag

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashes into Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing after the checkered flag Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H after colliding, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 on the first lap

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H after colliding, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 on the first lap Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race, a damaged radiator ahead of the damaged car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after crashing and colliding, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race, a damaged radiator ahead of the damaged car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after crashing and colliding, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crashes and collides, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H at the start of the race

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crashes and collides, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads as Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads as Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crash at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 Honda crash

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 Honda crash Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, takes out Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, takes out Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

The cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash and collide

The cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash and collide Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race as Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash in the background

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race as Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash in the background Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 involved in the collision, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 anDrivers Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 involved in the collision, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 anDrivers Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race as Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash in the background

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race as Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash in the background Sutton Images

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race and the cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash after colliding Sutton Images

Sutton Images

The cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash and collide

The cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 crash and collide Sutton Images

Sutton Images

The crashed cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after colliding at the start of the race

The crashed cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after colliding at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

The crashed cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Medical car

The crashed cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Medical car Sutton Images

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H leaves his car after his collision, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H leaves his car after his collision, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashed at the race start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashed at the race start Sutton Images

Sutton Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashed at the race start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H crashed at the race start Sutton Images

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing walk back to the pits after their collision

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing walk back to the pits after their collision Steven Tee / LAT Images

Steven Tee / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H goes into the wall

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H goes into the wall Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, as Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, crash out behind them

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, as Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, crash out behind them Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in reverse after hitting the wall

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in reverse after hitting the wall Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, passes Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, as the latter crashes out

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, passes Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, as the latter crashes out Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 passes Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H after he hits the wall

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 passes Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H after he hits the wall Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 and Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17 run wide to avoid Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H

Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 and Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17 run wide to avoid Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

The crashed cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H are recovered

The crashed cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H are recovered Sutton Images

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The damaged cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H after crashing out at the start of the race

The damaged cars of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H after crashing out at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images

The damaged cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after colliding at the start of the race

The damaged cars of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 after colliding at the start of the race Sutton Images

Sutton Images