Lewis Hamilton has bemoaned his bad luck after retiring from the Japanese GP
Mercedes driver suffered puncture following contact with Vettel
By William Esler
Last Updated: 14/10/13 8:01am
The Mercedes driver split the two Red Bulls off the line, but as he moved to the right he made contact with the front-wing of the German and suffered an instant deflation of his right-rear tyre.
The tyre delaminated before Hamilton had limped back to the pits and he was forced to retire at the end of lap eight as a result of the damage the flailing rubber had caused to his car.
"I had a great start - it was one of the best starts I have had all year if not the best start - and I went for the gap and felt like I had a clear gap, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
"Then going into turn one, all of a sudden the rear tyre was gone and I couldn't believe my luck, but that is life.
"I just feel for the guys and the team, because they work so hard. As a team we have done so well and we should be getting the results, but luck has not been on our side.
"It was such a light touch and I didn't even notice it until I got to turn one. I had a great start, so really happy with that, but then after that the tyre blew and I tried my best to get it round, but the tyre disintegrated and destroyed the floor. Then after I made my stop the car was pulling to the right.
"I had very low downforce so I was struggling - I was losing like 40 points of downforce and was almost two seconds down a lap."
The result means Hamilton is now mathematically out of the fight for the Drivers' Championship having slipped to 136 points behind Vettel and hasn't finished on the podium since the Belgian GP.