Lewis Hamilton capitalises on Sebastian Vettel's first-lap drama in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton holding on 'for dear life' in Singapore

Further round the lap, Vettel, whose auto was not fatally damaged in the incident lost control and spun out.

The FIA said it will investigate the accident after the race.

Through drying conditions and three safety vehicle periods, Hamilton held off Daniel Ricciardo in second place and crossed the line with a 4.5s lead over the Red Bull at the finish.

The safety auto is then immediately enter the track, while the Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who started in fifth position on the grid, took advantage of this accident to take the lead of the race. "I'm sure there will be more opportunities".

It gives the Ferrari driver a gilt-edged chance to reclaim the world championship lead from Hamilton, who edged three points ahead by winning this month's Italian Grand Prix. "We didn't have the Friday pace, little disappointed to miss out on a win, but I am still grateful with another podium".

He said: "I didn't see that much".

Following a massive downpour several hours beforehand, more heavy showers soaked the Marina Bay circuit just before the race which started 8 p.m. local time (1200 GMT).

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But the Milton Keynes-based outfit, who could have locked out the front row for the first time since the United States Grand Prix in 2013, were denied by a sensational one minute, 39.491 second lap by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

After a few laps behind the safety vehicle, the race resumed for real on lap 7.

"I saw Max and then next thing I see is Kimi hitting the side of me and Max somewhere there", said Vettel, who remains optimistic about his title hopes. Remarkably, Alonso was able to continue despite his McLaren having effectively been disembowelled, with entrails hanging from its left hand side, and ran just outside the points until the inevitable happened on lap nine and he was forced to retire.

The safety vehicle came out again shortly after, as Daniil Kvyat crashed his Toro Rosso.

The safety vehicle came out again, after Marcus Ericsson's Sauber stalled on lap 39.

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

The safety auto cuts the leader's momentum and enables others to close the gap.