Lewis Hamilton won his third consecutive British Grand Prix in a dramatic race that started in the wet before the drying track caused treacherous conditions.
Nico Rosberg was locked in a tight battle for the podium places with Max Verstappen for the entire race. The German ended ahead of the Red Bull driver to finish in second but was later penalised 10 seconds – to put him back to third place – after an illegal radio transmission on the closing laps.
Hamilton soaked up the raging atmosphere after the race and is now just one point behind Rosberg.
Mixed results for Mercedes
A large downpour minutes before the race meant that the opening laps were run behind the safety car.
With the British sun appearing and the track drying, the safety car peeled off and there was a mad dash into the pits with most drivers changing to intermediate tyres. In chaotic scenes, it was remarkable that there were no collisions in the narrow pit lane.
On the track, Hamilton began to build a comfortable lead in front but team-mate Nico Rosberg again suffered with pace in the wet-dry conditions – reminiscent of his poor lap speed in Monaco.
Max Verstappen closed quickly on Rosberg and caught him by lap 15. The talented Dutchman then passed Rosberg around the outside of the Becketts swerves in a breathtaking move.
Running on the same one-stop strategy, Rosberg was left to fight it out with Verstappen on the track. In the drying conditions, the stronger Mercedes car finally managed to find a way to passed Verstappen on lap 38 and stayed just seconds ahead for the remainder of the race.
“It was a cool fight,” reflected Rosberg.
“On the Inters not so much of a fight, it was done pretty quickly and then on dry, yeah it was great.”
“You’re playing around with your ERS deployment, I’m trying to get him to empty his battery so that then I can have a good shot – but then when his was empty mine was empty too.”
“It worked out really well though in the end.”
The close racing between Rosberg and Verstappen meant that Hamilton was never seriously challenged in front and he cruised in to pick-up his fourth British Grand Prix.
The thumping 130,000 crowd at Silverstone cheered on the reigning World Champion at every turn, with Hamilton joining his boisterous supporters after the race to crowd surf.
“Ever since 2007 I have felt the energy from the fans here, the best crowd in the world – the success speeds up that connection. Every time I made it through certain corners I could see the fans in the corner of my eye.”
“In the closing laps, I could see them shouting. I am very honoured. It is a very humbling experience to be in this sport, particularly in a time of difficulty in the world and see so much love in the world.”
“On this day, we come together and it is a beautiful thing.”
Red Bull edge out competitors
Daniel Ricciardo finished in fourth place – his fifth of the season – after his pit stop on Lap 6 for intermediate tyres was underdone by a virtual safety car the next lap.
It meant that the Australian spent much of the race unable to catch the front runners and out of reach from those behind.
“I’m definitely over these fourth places,” he said.
“It was just a boring race. Nothing really to fight for; no one to fight with.”
“I wanted some action today.”
Collectively, Verstappen and Ricciardo turned in a strong result for Red Bull and edged out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who could only manage fifth place after losing control at Abbey three times. His team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, was 10th following a gear box penalty before the race, a five-second penalty for forcing Williams’ Felipe Massa off the track while overtaking him, and a spin at Abbey in the wet conditions.