Starting from seventh on the grid, Vettel was hit from behind by the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat under braking for Turn 2. That pushed the Ferrari into the sister Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
As the two Red Bulls continued, Vettel spun into the wall – and retirement – at Turn 3, having seemingly picked up a puncture from the contact and then been hit again by Kvyat, who was handed a 10s stop-go penalty. It is the second race in succession that Vettel and Kvyat have clashed at the start.
There were also collisions further back, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez coming together. The former retired, while the latter was able to pit for a new nose and continue. The Mexican subsequently received a drive-through penalty for causing the incident.
The last of three lap-one retirements was Manor’s Rio Haryanto.
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WATCH: Vettel retires on opening lap in Russia