From the start, which was in wet conditions, Vettel leant across to block a move from second place Max Verstappen, who was then forced into the very fast starting Kimi Raikkonen and both Ferrari drivers and the Dutchman collided, resulting in retirements all-round.
The safety auto is then immediately enter the track, while the Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who started in fifth position on the grid, took advantage of this accident to take the lead of the race.
Vettel initially appeared to have escaped serious damage as he withstood Hamilton's bid for the lead through the opening turns, but it quickly became clear that the Ferrari was wounded, and the injury became terminal when the four-time champion spun into the wall between turns four and five. Get the app and get the game. Ricciardo finished second, ahead of Hamilton's team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.
"I'm happy not only I retired but all three of us so we all have a bit of pain".
"That's a seriously healthy gap".
It is a crucial pole for Vettel on one of the three hardest tracks to overtake on in Formula One. "Hopefully the next races are more in our direction".
"We were so focused on the issue Daniel was managing, it was just a question of getting the auto to the finish".
Vettel, meanwhile, said he was not thinking about the championship battle, which swung back in Hamilton's favour after his win in Italy. "They might have to carry us out of the cars tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll have a great strong race and get some big points!" "Certainly grid position is king or crucial, but still it's a long race", said the German. "So not too bothered where other people are".
"The fact our vehicle was good this evening is good for tomorrow".
Hamilton, who has 4.8 million followers on Twitter, told fans on Snapchat earlier in the week that he was going to watch the Netflix documentary "What the Health" and was "on a mission" to go vegan.