By Alan Baldwin
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton soaked up the energy of a roaring home crowd to win the British Grand Prix for the second year in a row on Sunday and forge 17 points clear of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.
Germany’s Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari, behind Rosberg, with Williams driver Felipe Massa bumped off the podium after leading for the first 20 laps following a blistering start.
On a tricky afternoon of safety cars, sunshine and showers Hamilton got his choice of tyres exactly right to chalk up his 38th career win and fifth of the season — and get his hands on a ‘proper’ gold trophy.
The victory in front of an estimated 140,000 fans made Hamilton only the third Briton, after Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell, to win three times at home.
“I really wanted to do it for you guys,” he told the crowd from the podium. “I am so thankful for all the support. I could see all the fans on every lap in the corner of my eye and it spurred me on.
“I just didn’t want to drop it for them,” added the Briton, who had made a sluggish start from pole position as Massa roared through from the second row to lead into the first corner.
“I am so elated you cannot imagine. I started to tear up on that last lap hoping I could do it for all the guys. Thanks for all the support.”
Rosberg, who was fourth at the end of the first lap, said his team mate had made the right call at the right time in pitting for intermediates just as the rain began to come down heavily.
Rosberg stayed out for another slippery lap before also pitting.
“I was pushing hard to try and catch Lewis under difficult conditions but he made the better call and that is where I lost it. Fair play to him,” said the German.
The safety car was deployed for two laps at the end of the first lap after Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean collided as well as the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
Button retired on the spot but Spaniard Alonso stayed in the race and finished lapped but 10th for his first point of a troubled season.
Only 13 cars finished, with Sauber’s Brazilian Felipe Nasr retiring before the start when his car was stuck in sixth gear on the track as he headed for the grid.
Williams took fifth place with Valtteri Bottas, who had a thrilling early duel with Massa for the lead, ahead of Red Bull’s Russian Daniil Kvyat.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was eighth and sandwiched between the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez in seventh and ninth.
Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One British Grand Prix
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 194
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 177
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 135
4. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 77
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 76
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 74
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 36
8. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull 27
9. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 24
10. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 17
11. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 16
12. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 15
13. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 12
14. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 10
15. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 9
16. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 5
17. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 4
18. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1
19. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia 0
20. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia 0
1. Mercedes 371
2. Ferrari 211
3. Williams-Mercedes 151
4. RedBull – Renault 63
5. Force India – Mercedes 39
6. Lotus – Mercedes 29
7. Sauber – Ferrari 21
8. Toro Rosso – Renault 19
9. McLaren 5
10. Marussia – Ferrari 0