Singapore: Lewis Hamilton benefited immensely from a chaotic start to win the rain-affected Singapore Grand Prix, extending his championship lead to 28 points with a hat-trick of victories.
The front row was wiped out at the first corner, taking out polesitter Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen after both contacted with Kimi Raikkonen. The incident allowed Hamilton, who started fifth, to take the lead and he was able to maintain that till the chequered flag despite constant pressure from Daniel Ricciardo, who eventually finished 4.5 seconds behind for his third podium in a row in Singapore.
Valtteri Bottas completed a smooth drive to take the last podium spot after starting fourth. Hamilton, who came here with a three-point advantage, has built a 28-point cushion — courtesy a no show from main championship rival Vettel, who remains on 235 points to Hamilton's 263.
Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez were the other big gainers in the Toro Rosso and Force India respectively. Sainz recorded a career-best fourth place finish after starting 10th while Perez came home fifth from 12th on the grid, maintaining his 100 points scoring streak here. Jolyon Palmer of Renault too came up with a spirited drive to finish sixth, his best ever, from 11th on the grid.
Earlier in the week, it was announced that Sainz would replace Palmer at Renault for the next season. Stofel Vandoorne, Lance Stroll, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon completed the top-10.