Lewis Hamilton cut Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's lead at the top of the Formula One Drivers' Championship to just one points with 11 races of the 2016 season still to go, after coasting to a straightforward victory at the British Grand Prix. The 31-year-old becomes the first person ever to triumph in three consecutive years at Silverstone and ties Nigel Mansell with his fourth win overall to lie just one adrift of Alain Prost and Jim Clark.
Those concerned over the prospect of another clash between the two rivals after their third collision in five races in Austria last weekend that saw them threatened with team orders before they were handed a "final warning" from principal Toto Wolff and subject to more rigorous rules of engagement need not have worried. Rosberg was unable to match the pace and eventually crossed the line in second after battling with young upstart Max Verstappen, who claimed a podium place for only the third time in his fledgling F1 career.
The German, who was handed a 10-second penalty for running Hamilton off the track on the final lap at the Red Bull Ring, was unable to apply any late pressure to the leader and instead had to battle to keep P2 due to a gearbox problem that saw him stuck in seventh. For the second week in succession, he was then subject to a stewards inquiry after receiving instructions on how to fix the issue from his race engineer. That is only permitted under current regulations if the car is about to fail.
The race began in rather sedate fashion, with persistent heavy downpours leading to treacherous track conditions that saw the first six laps completed behind the safety car. That inevitably then led to carnage in the pits, with several teams scrambling to fit their cars with intermediate tyres. The virtual safety car procedure was also enforced when Pascal Wehrlein hit the gravel.
The Red Bulls of Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished third and fourth respectively, while Kimi Raikkonen, making his 100th race start for Ferrari after signing a new deal in midweek, pipped Force India's Sergio Perez to fifth and moved up to third in the standings. Nico Hulkenburg, Carlos Sainz Jr, Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat rounded off the points positions.
Vettel kept hold of ninth place despite a five-second penalty handed down after he was adjudged to have forced Felipe Massa off the track. That punishment marked another difficult weekend for the four-time world champion, who was hit with his third five-place grid penalty of the season yesterday after yet more gearbox problems.
Jenson Button was unable to build upon an excellent sixth-place finish in Austria and ended his 17th and potentially last British Grand Prix in 12th, one place ahead of disgruntled McLaren-Honda partner Fernando Alonso. The other home interest, Renault's Jolyon Palmer, endured a Silverstone debut to forget as he also received a 10-second penalty after being released from the pit lane with only three wheels attached. He later retired on lap 37.
UPDATE - Rosberg handed 10-second time penalty that drops him past Verstappen and into third place.
"Having considered the matter extensively, the Stewards determined that the team gave some instructions to the driver that were specifically permitted under Technical Directive 014-16. However, the Stewards determined that the team then went further and gave instructions to the driver that were not permitted under the Technical Directive, and were in Breach of Art. 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided."