LEWIS HAMILTON stormed into Silverstone’s history books with a fourth-straight win at the British Grand Prix and fifth overall in front of his adoring fans.
The Brit arrived for work this weekend having drawn heavy criticism for skipping a promotional event in London to take a holiday in Greece.
But he was in a class of his own once again at Silverstone, leading from pole to the flag to equal Jim Clark’s record of four in a row in Britain from Valtteri Bottas in second and Kimi Raikkonen in third.
The 32-year-old also joined Clark and Alain Prost on five British Grand Prix wins, a record he should break in years to come as he shows no signs of slowing up.
Most importantly for Hamilton this season, though, his victory slashed Sebastian Vettel’s title lead to one point after a late puncture and suspension problem for the German.
After the frustration of Austria, where he took a five-place grid penalty, and Azerbaijan, where a headrest issue cost him, Hamilton finished in front of Vettel for the first time since Canada on June 11.
Mercedes had more than just an edge on Ferrari all weekend and the 0.547sec margin between Hamilton and Raikkonen in qualifying was the largest of the season between pole sitter and second place on the grid.
Vettel started third behind Raikkonen and would have set his sights on leapfrogging his team-mate at the start to put pressure on Hamilton.
But instead the Ferrari driver fell behind teen Max Verstappen, and spent the first 19 laps behind the Red Bull which ruined his chances of a win.
Vettel had to wait for the pit window to undercut Verstappen, coming in a lap early and making the fresh tyres count on his outlap.
Hamilton’s case was helped even more yesterday when team-mate Bottas took a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, meaning he started down in ninth.
Bottas edged Hamilton to the top of the time sheets in both Friday practice sessions and came into the race in hot form after winning in Austria.
Bottas was the only man in the top 10 to start on the soft tyre, meaning he saved the faster super-soft for the latter part of the race.
When he eventually did bit on lap 32, he came out five seconds heading Vettel with 19 laps to make the pass he needed for the podium.
He made the pass on lap 44 to clinch third place after a failed overtake attempt on lap 42 where the pair made contact.
Vettel then looked to be handed a podium reprieve when Kimi Raikkonen had a problem and had to pit on lap 48.
But that was snatched away from Vettel when a puncture on lap 50 led to a suspension problem and he had to pit in a late disaster for Ferrari.
Vettel crucially managed to nurse his car home in seventh place and pick up six championship points, which kept his nose in front of Hamilton in the title battle.
But that margin is down to a single point heading to Hungary in a fortnight’s time.
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Verstappen came home fourth with his Red Bull unable to match the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari cars in front after a promising start.
His Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo put in an exceptional drive to finish fifth having started on the back row of the grid.
Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, in his McLaren clocked up a sixth DNF this season having been forced to retire on lap 34 in another frustrating race.
That was better than the other Brit Jolyon Palmer, though, who didn’t even start the race as his Renault packed in on the formation lap.
It was a bitter disappointment for Palmer in what could be his final race of the season with rumours that the team could axe him.
But this day belonged to another Brit in Hamilton.
He coasted to the finish line in the end, being applauded and cheered as he went round by the fans for the last five laps or so.
It was the seventh time in 11 years Hamilton has finished on the podium here.
Hamilton has been delighting the fans at Silverstone for a decade now since his debut in 2007, and he could be doing it for a while longer too on this form.