One small crumb of comfort for Vettel is that, despite strong qualifying, Hamilton has only won once here - in 2014.
Alongside the Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix happening this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit, the circuit is also hosting the first round of the Formula 4 South East Asia (SEA) championship.
2016's race victor in Daniel Ricciardo occupies the second of the grid, behind his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. The fireworks started early in Singapore with a controversial wreck at the start. I'm told Toro Rosso Honda will likely field Gasly and Kvyat next year, but only because there's no one else available from the Red Bull stable.
"It's a step toward trying to win this world championship so every point counts", Hamilton said.
Will the Strolls have a say in selecting the lead Williams driver in 2018? This could require a new gearbox for Vettel which would incur a five-spot grid penalty at his next Grand Prix. Red Bull opted to keep the Australian out for four laps longer than his teammate but when he re-joined his five second deficit to Hamilton had grown to over 18, ruling the team out of a one-two finish and bringing him closer to the charging Vettel.
Hamilton, who failed to finish in Malaysia previous year due to an engine failure, also complained of a temporary loss of power from his car's battery.
The odds are against Vettel winning a fifth in Sepang, though there is hope that Räikkönen could steal points off Hamilton.
With mechanics unable to fix Vettel's Ferrari before the end of Q1 the German will start from the back of the grid unless there are penalties for other drivers. It would also eliminate any leftover memories of his finish in Malaysia past year.
The Ferrari driver's title chances have started to look a lot less rosy over the past month, with Hamilton scoring a hat-trick of victories.
Raikkonen was a first-bend casualty in the Singapore carnage along with Max Verstappen. Daniel Ricciardo led Max Verstappen, celebrating his 20th birthday tomorrow, in a one-two finish for the former champions.
Want your voice heard? He joined ESPN Australia's team in June, 2013. "I said when Max's luck would change it would change in a dramatic way and it's hard to believe the last time he was on the podium was at the beginning of April in China".
It was another bitter blow for Ferrari, after both cars crashed out of the Singapore GP two weeks ago. After finishing 2nd in 2016 at Sepang, it is Verstappen's turn to spray the champagne from the top of the podium.