Max Verstappen says Sebastian Vettel took an unnecessary risk in Singapore

Life through a lens: Singapore's first-corner carnage (1:31)

Mark Sutton reveals how a small team of F1 photographers captured the chaos of the opening corner in Singapore. (1:31)

Max Verstappen thinks Sebastian Vettel would have avoided the dramatic crash at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix if he had been thinking about his championship fight with Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel squandered a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the title race when, after a sluggish getaway from pole, he moved across to defend the fast-starting Verstappen and became involved in a collision with the Red Bull driver and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The clash forced all three drivers out of the race and helped Hamilton win from fifth on the grid, opening a 28-point lead in the process.

Red Bull defended Verstappen after the race following criticism from Ferrari and the Dutchman remains confused about Vettel's mindset.

"Vettel is fighting for the championship, so you don't need to take so much risk if you know that Hamilton starts fifth," Verstappen said. "If this would have been with Hamilton then it would have been a completely different story. From his [Vettel's] side, I don't understand that something like this happens."

The race stewards deemed the collision to be a racing incident, meaning all three drivers avoided a penalty. Verstappen's father Jos, who had an F1 career spanning eight seasons, believes the FIA was playing a "political game" by not punishing Vettel.

"He does deserve it -- I really think he does," he said. "But they won't be too quick to do that, because he already got a warning [from Baku]. If he gets a penalty now then I think they would also need to suspend him for a race, so this might but be another political game and deemed a racing incident. But I don't think that would be fair."

"If you look at the images, Raikkonen comes to the right and steers in. But if you look at the footage more closely, you can also see that Vettel comes to the left, and Max is in between them. He can't go the left and he can't go to the right. You can hardly blame Max for any of this."