Lewis Hamilton won his home British Grand Prix for the third year in a row on Sunday with Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg finishing second but under a stewards’ investigation.
The triple Formula One world champion’s fourth home win, from pole position in tricky conditions, was the 47th victory of his career and cut Rosberg’s overall lead to four points after 10 of 21 races.
Rosberg was slowed by a gearbox problem five laps from the end and crossed the line 6.9 seconds behind, with a question mark over his result after Mercedes seemingly broke the rules on radio advice by telling him to avoid seventh gear.
Red Bull’s Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was third, 1.3 seconds behind Rosberg, in a race that began behind the safety car after heavy rain before starting properly at the end of the fifth lap.
“I don’t know if you can be as happy as me but I’m really happy,” Hamilton told the 130,000-strong crowd that stood and cheered him all the way round the final lap with the sun shining brightly at last.
The Briton got even closer to the fans, who flooded onto the track, after parking up at the finish, and then enjoyed some celebratory crowd-surfing after the podium presentation.
“I’m glad that the good English weather came out. It was so tricky in those conditions. When we started the race, I was the first one who had to attack it,” said the champion.
“It’s never plain, smooth sailing – that’s why the British GP is the best.”
Hamilton is now the closest he has been to Rosberg this season and that gap could narrow even further if stewards rule Mercedes erred in telling the German what to do.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner said the radio rules were “pretty clear” and questioned where Rosberg, who was booed by some in the crowd as he stepped onto the podium, would have finished had Mercedes not given him their advice.
But Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the governing FIA would have to decide.
“We know what is allowed on the rules. The gearbox was about to fail. We think we should be OK, but we’ll wait,” the Austrian told the BBC.
Rosberg, who had a stirring battle with Verstappen that involved each overtaking the other, said he was confident the team had acted within the rules.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull, 17.9 seconds behind his team mate, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fifth.
Mexican Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India, with team principal Vijay Mallya able to attend a race for the first time this season, having previously had his passport withdrawn, with German team mate Nico Hulkenberg seventh.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ninth after being handed a five second penalty for forcing the Williams of Brazilian Felipe Massa off the track.
Sainz’s Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat took the final point.
Driver and Constructor Standings after the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 171
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 167
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 106
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 100
5. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 98
6. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull 87
7. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 54
8. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 47
9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 38
10. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas 28
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 26
12. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 26
13. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 23
14. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 18
15. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 13
16. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault 6
17. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor 1
18. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1
19. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas 0
20. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 0
21. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 0
22. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 0
23. Rio Haryanto (Indonesia) Manor 0
1. Mercedes 338
2. Ferrari 204
3. Red Bull – TAG Heuer 195
4. Williams-Mercedes 92
5. Force India – Mercedes 73
6. Toro Rosso – Ferrari 41
7. McLaren 32
8. Haas – Ferrari 28
9. Renault 6
10. Manor – Mercedes 1
11. Sauber – Ferrari 0