I didn't see that much - Vettel blindsided by early Singapore crash

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Sebastian Vettel had no idea of the carnage coming his way at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix as a crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen dealt a blow to his Formula One title ambitions.

Pole-sitter Vettel had managed to get a clean getaway at the Marina Bay Circuit on Sunday, despite heavy rain ahead of the start.

However, as Raikkonen looked to usurp Verstappen ahead of the first corner, he clipped the Red Bull and went arrowing into his Ferrari team-mate.

The Finn promptly spun before careering back into Verstappen and subsequently Fernando Alonso - ending the race for all three.

Vettel attempted to continue despite a hole in his left-side pod, but a few corners later the German spun under no pressure, losing his nose cone which quickly forced his retirement.

"I didn't see that much," he told reporters as title rival Lewis Hamilton took the race lead.

"I saw Max and then next thing I see is Kimi hitting the side of me and Max somewhere."

With Hamilton in control of the race and on course to pick up vital points wherever he finishes, Vettel acknowledged the situation was not what Ferrari had wanted - particularly given their dominance over Mercedes throughout the weekend - but he remains confident of challenging for a fifth drivers' championship.

"It is not ideal is it," he added. "[But] it's how this business is. 

"It doesn't change much and we can't show the pace that we have. I'm sure there will be more opportunities."