Flashback: Vettel’s disastrous Singapore 2017 start shunt

Sebastian Vettel returns to the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend much in the same shape as he left the 2017 edition – under fire.

Flashback: Vettel’s disastrous Singapore 2017 start shunt

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

Photo by: 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

Photo by: 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

Photo by: 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

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

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

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

Photo by: 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

Photo by: Sutton Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Sutton Images

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

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

Photo by: 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
1/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
2/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
3/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H leads at the start of the race
4/41

Photo by: 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
5/41

Photo by: 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
6/41

Photo by: 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
7/41

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport 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
8/41

Photo by: 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
9/41

Photo by: 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
10/41

Photo by: 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
11/41

Photo by: 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
12/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport 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
13/41

Photo by: 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
14/41

Photo by: 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
15/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport 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
16/41

Photo by: 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
17/41

Photo by: 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
18/41

Photo by: 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
19/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport 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
20/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport 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
21/41

Photo by: 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
22/41

Photo by: 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
23/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport 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
24/41

Photo by: 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
25/41

Photo by: 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
26/41

Photo by: 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
27/41

Photo by: 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
28/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

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
29/41

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport 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
30/41

Photo by: 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
31/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

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
32/41

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H goes into the wall
 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H goes into the wall
33/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport 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
34/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in reverse after hitting the wall
 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in reverse after hitting the wall
35/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport 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
36/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport 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
37/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport 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
38/41

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport 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
39/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

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
40/41

Photo by: 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
41/41

Photo by: Sutton Images

  

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