@Nick, the season is over, and I like to indulge in some what-if scenarios. There are others who like what-if scenarios (in fact, didn’t Keith once do an ‘alternative championship’?), but I suppose you are not one of them. As for “obsessing” over Hamilton, I’m a fan and wonder “what if”. Nothing more.
As to knee-jerking, the nice thing about this particular what-if scenario is that it’s relatively straightforward, and doesn’t require enormous amounts of conjecture. Hamilton retiring from the lead affected only him, and gave a few points to those behind him, without otherwise having a great impact on the course of a race. By contrast, if we would wonder “what if Grosjean hadn’t taken out half of the top 10 in Spa”, we would have to imagine a completely different race.
In addition, in the period from Singapore to Brazil, Alonso and Vettel didn’t suffer from too many misfortunes, so we don’t have to go into the argument “yes, but what if Vettel’s alternator hadn’t failed him in Korea”. Of course, Alonso had a start-line incident in Japan, but he was not blameless there (imo).
You are free to consider this a pointless exercise notwithstanding, but the reason I found this scenario interesting is that Hamilton still had a realistic shot at the title (after all the misfortune he had already suffered up to that point), but in the actual standings he is a massively distant fourth.