Malaysian GP: Sebastian Vettel vows not to change despite Singapore crash

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A defiant Sebastian Vettel vowed Thursday not to change the way he drives despite his first-lap exit in Singapore as he prepares for Sunday’s last-ever Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel’s Ferrari started from pole but was involved in a crash at the start that also took out team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on a rain-soaked Marina Bay Circuit.

It allowed Lewis Hamilton, who avoided the carnage to win from fifth on the grid, to extend his championship lead from a slender three points to 28.

“I’m not too fussed about the amount of points,” Vettel told reporters at the Sepang International Circuit.

“Obviously it’s never good to be behind, we’d like to be in front, but we’re not, so we’ve got to take it from there.

“Overall it doesn’t change anything for how we tackle the last six races.”

Vettel was exonerated of blame for the Singapore crash by stewards, but many observers felt the German four-time world champion was at fault as he had forced Verstappen towards Raikkonen.

But Vettel said that he hadn’t given the crash much thought since because it was just “part of racing”.

“I think it would have been more difficult if I had lost the car somewhere in the race, then it’s obviously different,” he said.

“The lights went off, we did our start. Everyone was trying to do his start and with the way it happened it ended up really bad for all of us. There’s not much you can do. I think it’s part of racing.

Vettel's crash in Singapore has left him playing catch-up in the title race.

Vettel’s crash in Singapore has left him playing catch-up in the title race.

“It certainly didn’t help Lewis scored a lot of points but that’s the way it goes. What’s done is done.

“It’s not the first time I’m in the situation like this and probably will not be the last time — not that I’m hoping for it to happen again.”

Raikkonen said there was no point in dwelling on what happened and that Ferrari could still take plenty of positives from Singapore.

“In Singapore Sebastian was first and I was fourth in qualifying so if you compare it with Mercedes we were better,” Raikkonen said. “Then we basically didn’t race.”

KIMI WON’T MISS MALAYSIA

Hamilton qualified only fifth and team-mate Valtteri Bottas sixth on the grid in Singapore.

Verstappen, who was sandwiched between the two Ferraris, was reluctant to talk about the crash.

“It happened. You can’t change it. We try again,” said Verstappen.

Sunday will see the final running of the Sepang race after the Malaysian government announced it would not continue to fund the $67 million annual cost of staging the grand prix.

Raikkonen recorded his first victory at the circuit in 2003 but in typically unsentimental fashion said he wasn’t upset to see the race disappear from the calendar.

“To be honest I don’t know if we’re going to miss it,” the Finn told reporters.

“It’s a nice circuit,” he continued, “but the only thing you see is the airport, the hotel next to the airport and the circuit. You can choose from that what you’re going to miss, or not.”​

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Mumford & Sons, Calvin Harris and Pink confirmed, here are other acts to have played at Abu Dhabi GP

Sport360 staff 26/09/2017

This year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will see Mumford & Sons join Pink and Calvin Harris, making it a weekend of top action on and off of the track.

The Grand Prix, which is Formula One's showpiece event, has had no shortage of famous faces from the music world perform in the past.

From Jay-Z to Sir Paul McCartney to Eminem - Rihanna is the latest in a long list of big names to sing in the UAE capital.

Here, Sport360 takes a look at the previous acts to have lit up the stage at the Yas Marina Circuit.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2016

Performers: Chemical Brothers, Lionel Richie and Rihanna Line-Up Rating: 8/10 - Largely down to Rihanna's slick and engaging performance to close the Formula One weekend in fashion. Judging by the performances of Lionel Ritchie, Chemical Brothers and Rihanna, the event promoters have set the bar high for the 2017 edition of Yasalam.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2015

Performers: Enrique Iglesias, Blur, Florence and the Machine Line-up Rating: 7/10 - Had he not been riding the wave of a big comeback hit, Enrique would have seemed a left-field choice, while Blur appealed to nostalgic 1990s Britpop lovers and Florence and the Machine cranked up the volume.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2014

Performers: The Who, Pharrell Williams, Armin Van Buuren Line-up Rating: 8/10 - A mix of old and the new, with The Who rolling back the years to their 1970s heyday while superstar Pharrell oozed class as the main showpiece act.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2013

Performers: Jay-Z, Muse, Depeche Mode Line-up Rating: 9/10 - Muse's big-stage appeal made them the perfect act to line-up in the UAE capital and rapper Jay-Z ensured it was a memorable weekend.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2012

Performers: Eminem, Kylie Minogue, Nickelback Line-up Rating: 8/10 - Past his peak, fans were more interested in Eminem's classics than his modern material but it was good to see the cult rapper on stage. Kylie and Nickelback were also crowd-pleasers, performing their repertoire of hits.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2011

Performers: Britney Spears, Sir Paul McCartney Line-up Rating: 8/10 - The Beatles legend is always a huge draw and seemed to enjoy his time on stage in Abu Dhabi, while Britney Spears entertained a jam-packed crowd on the second night.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2010

Performers: Prince, Linkin Park, Kanye West Line-up Rating: 9/10 - The late, great Prince rolled back the years with a vintage display and American rockers Linkin Park literally lifted the roof. But Kanye West proved the most spectacular.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2009

Performers: Aerosmith, Beyonce Line-up Rating: 9/10 - Cult rock band Aerosmith's big hits went down well, however Beyonce stole the limelight with a flawless display.

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Singapore Grand Prix provides pivotal moment as Lewis Hamilton extends lead in championship race

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Every world championship has its pivotal moment and Singapore has all the makings of being the turning point that decided the see-saw battle for track hegemony in 2017.

Immaterial of who was to blame for the incident that took out Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen – although we’ll revisit that – it does beg the question what the hell Vettel was doing?

It was abundantly clear from qualifying that he was set to be the quickest man at Marina Bay and that if he stayed out of danger then the 25 points were his and he was most likely back in front in the title race.

But instead, he veered rashly across to the left, in part no doubt panicked by a rarely sluggish start by him.

As he did so – well aware as he was that he was marginally on the back foot following that start – he surely knew other cars were upon him immaterial of who and exactly where, and in so doing was putting his own race and hence championship at risk by veering so drastically across the racing line.

It was an aggression that was unnecessary, Vettel probably with enough pace to win the race even if Verstappen had got the jump on him.

Instead, it made for an incredibly messy – albeit thrillingly spectacular – race start that cost Vettel an almost certain 25 points and turned a banker weekend into a nightmare for Ferrari.

As for the blame, the temerity of Ferrari to apportion that on the shoulders of Verstappen was quite laughable, the team tweeting: “VER took #Kimi7 out then he went to #Seb5 #SingaporeGP.”

It led the usually unassuming Christian Horner, Verstappen’s team boss at Red Bull Racing, to let rip and suggest bosses at the Italian manufacturer needed their eyes testing. He had a point.

The stewards duly agreed, calling both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to answer their actions in the aftermath while Verstappen, who kept a straight line throughout the incident, was rightly left to rue by himself what might have been.

Vettel’s rashness has already reared its head this season – his bump into Hamilton out of merely childish frustration at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix a case in point.

And this had echoes of that, an unnecessary risk as tempers frayed in the heat of the moment.

Hamilton had admitted himself when he woke up the day of the Singapore Grand Prix with fifth place on the grid it was all about damage limitation.

Ironically, there was none, quite the most unexpected swing in an already captivating season come the chequered flag.

Not even the greatest Mercedes optimist could have envisaged both drivers on the podium come the end with the Ferrari pairing back in their respective garages and out of their racing overalls after a solitary lap.

For the wider championship, it is hard to see how Hamilton loses the title from here with 28 points in the bag over Vettel, six races left and no bogeys like Singapore was supposed to be.

Sure, Hamilton could have another hellish weekend a la Russia or Monaco, but the Mercedes appears to be performing better at tracks that supposedly don’t suit them.

Post-Singapore, team boss Toto Wolff was looking to Mexico and the season finale in Abu Dhabi, both of which suit Ferrari arguably more.

But elsewhere, Hamilton and Mercedes ought to have the edge, all with the buffer of those 28 points.

If the point swing had played out as predicted in Sunday’s race, Malaysia might have been a different matter altogether, Hamilton under pressure to force the win to claw back the points.

Instead, the onus is on Vettel: for his rashness in the championship, for his swing across for what was essentially a Ferrari sandwich for Verstappen, and for potentially ruining his hopes of a fifth world title.

The two weeks between now and Sepang will be long and painful for the German.

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