Lewis Hamilton sealed a controversial win at the British Grand Grand Prix after an early crash involving title rival Max Verstappen that saw the Dutchman taken to hospital.
Hamilton passed Ferrari's Charles Leclerc with only two-and-a-half laps remaining of a thrilling race in front of a 140,000 spectators on a sizzling afternoon at Silverstone.
The British driver's teammate Valtteri Bottas was third after obeying team orders to let Hamilton through and chase Leclerc in a race halted after Verstappen's crash and then restarted.
Hamilton was hit with a 10-second penalty for a lap-one shunt which saw Verstappen’s race end in the barriers before being taken to hospital for “precautionary tests".
“Thank god he's walked away unscathed,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told the race director. “Full blame lays on Hamilton who should never have been in that position.”
"I hope Lewis is very happy with himself," Horner added after the race. "That's a hollow victory."
Hamilton, though, was euphoric after his victory — his eighth on home turf — that moved him to within seven points of Verstappen in the drivers' championship.
Hamilton jumped out his Mercedes and leapt over a barrier before waving the Union Flag in front of the packed grandstands.
“It is massively overwhelming,” the seven-time world champion said. “It was such a physically difficult race with the best crowd. A home crowd is the best. It is a dream to do this in front of you all.”
On his collision with Verstappen, he said: “I always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with battling with Max, he's very aggressive. And then today I was fully alongside him and he didn't leave space.
“Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working.
“I was like 'I'm not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd's enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag'."
Leclerc also kept his head up after missing out on what would have been Ferrari's first win since 2019.
“I gave not 100 per cent but I gave 200 per cent. I gave all of me but it was just not enough in the last two laps,” said the Monegasque.
“We definitely did not expect it. We expected to be competitive after qualifying but not as competitive as now, we were fighting for the win which was. incredible.”
The biggest flashpoint in recent seasons took place after just nine corners as Hamilton hustled Verstappen throughout the first lap.
He made several attempts to overtake and tried to cut inside on Copse corner. As Dutchman Verstappen turned he hit the front tyre of the Mercedes, and his Red Bull flew across the gravel and into the barriers.
Verstappen managed to haul himself out of his written-off Red Bull machine before standing hunched over and then led away to an ambulance. There was relief among the fans and a round of applause as he managed to offer a wave.
The race was suspended with Leclerc in the lead as crews worked to remove Verstappen's car and the stewards reviewed the incident.
During the pause in the action the teams and drivers involved lobbied race organisers and the stewards both in person and on the radio.
Hamilton pleaded his case in a radio chat with his team. “I was ahead coming in there,” he said. “It was my line. I was giving the guy space.”
Following a delay of 45 minutes the race restarted with Hamilton starting from second after Leclerc passed him in the moments after his collision with Verstappen.
The seven-time champion was then slapped with a 10-second penalty which he served at his pit stop on lap 27 of 52 which dropped him to fourth behind Lando Norris, Bottas and a dozen seconds adrift of Leclerc.
Hamilton passed Norris on lap 31 before Bottas was ordered out his way by Mercedes. The 36-year-old then set about hunting Leclerc with the gap reduced to just 1.5 seconds with four laps to run.
On lap 50 of 52, Hamilton put his Mercedes on the inside of Leclerc’s Ferrari through Copse before backing out of the move, but the Monegasque ran wide and Hamilton assumed the lead to the delight of the partisan crowd.
He crossed the line 3.8 seconds clear of Leclerc with Bottas completing the podium and Norris finishing fourth.