F1 2017 | Hamilton takes big step towards fourth title

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Singapore Grand Prix 2017 - Singapore - September 17, 2017 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium Reuters/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE — Lewis Hamilton took a huge stride towards his fourth Formula One title on Sunday by winning an incident-packed Singapore Grand Prix after Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out at the start.

The Mercedes driver now has a 28-point cushion over the German with six of the 20 races remaining.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also emerged from the opening lap carnage unscathed, was second for the third year in a row with Finland’s Valtteri Bottas completing the podium for Mercedes.

“God blessed me today for sure,” said Hamilton, who set a lap record on his way to a third win in a row, as he spoke from the podium on a night where everything fell into his lap.

“I came here today really thinking it was about damage limitation, and we’ve come out ahead. So I’m very grateful,” he said later.

“To come to a track that was potentially our weakest circuit, and come away with a win like this and those points, it’s really such a fortunate scenario…so I definitely have a skip in my step.”

The Briton cashed in after Vettel, Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s front row contender Max Verstappen smashed into each other as they raced off the wet starting grid and into the first corner.

Raikkonen had made a storming start from fourth, Vettel a less impressive one from pole position while Verstappen went for the middle ground and was caught in a Ferrari sandwich as they converged.