Sep.23 (GMM) Fernando Alonso's championship lead shed 8 points under the Singapore lights on Sunday night.
Hamilton controlled the first half of the race but then retired with a gearbox failure, letting Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel win.
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh said he doubted the failure was caused by Hamilton's brush with the wall in qualifying on Saturday.
But German back-to-back title winner Vettel snatches the Briton's second place in the drivers' championship, leaving Alonso with a 29-point lead now with just 6 races to go.
The situation is reminiscent of 2010, when Vettel took his first title by hunting down Alonso in the dying stages of the season.
"I think Fernando won't be too happy if it happens again," the 25-year-old laughed to former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan on the podium.
On the other hand, Alonso's lead would have been further diminished on Sunday if Hamilton's gearbox had survived.
"For me," Alonso smiled to Jordan, "it's ok if they keep doing that."