Vettel's getaway was routine but he soon found Verstappen closing in on him on the inside, and the Ferrari driver moved across to cover the Red Bull, apparently unaware Raikkonen was on the other side of the No.33 vehicle and next to the pit wall.
Hamilton surged to the front - with Red Bull's Ricciardo also a beneficiary - and a timely reminder from his team to get the vehicle home in one piece was heeded, making last year's runner-up the heavy favourite for the title with six rounds to go, even after Marcus Ericsson's spin led to another outing from the safety auto.
When asked after the incident if he felt the race should have been started under the Safety Car, Vettel replied: "I don't know".
Some drivers had expressed concerns about visibility in the wet under floodlights, but the night race had hardly started when it lost three of the first four cars on the grid.
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Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Matthew Daly contributed. DACA has given almost 800,000 young people protection from deportation and the right to work legally in the country.
Hamilton avoided the trouble and progressed from fifth on the grid to first, ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, as the cars race finally restarted after a safety auto.
"For sure, it's bitter but it's done", said the four times Singapore GP victor, whose retirement ended a run of 18 successive points finishes.
"I want to congratulate my team, they did a fantastic job", said Hamilton.
While the three leaders were out on the spot, Alonso tried to continue after the resulting safety vehicle, but his McLaren was too damaged and he had to retire.
Australian Ricciardo had been confident of victory, despite missing out on pole on Saturday but could not keep up with the Briton's pace on Sunday.
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Both Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo didn't play, the first time in Trumbo's two seasons with the Orioles that both sat out. After a brief discussion and no warmup throws, Hellickson remained in the game and walked Aaron Judge on four pitches.
"Guys what can I say - what a turnaround today!"
"I'm a little bit disappointed to miss out on the win".
That summary was swiftly condemned by an incredulous Horner with the Red Bull chief responding: "How on earth you can work that out [Verstappen to blame] from watching that, I have no idea".
This is the first abandonment of the season for the German.
Esteban Ocon rounded out the points paying positions in tenth place for Force India after being locked in an ongoing battle with the two Haas drivers and Felipe Massa.
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I think he was unfortunate in the back of the end zone, should have been our ball, first down on the 1-yard line. That was when Lynch, a former NFL Super Bowl-winning safety, was a color analyst for eight years for Fox Sports.
Having built on that advantage, championship leader Hamilton was frustrated by the reappearance of the safety vehicle on lap 11 when Daniil Kvyat drove into the barriers. Only 12 of the 20 cars finished.