Lewis Hamilton powered his way to a fourth straight British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone with an impeccable performance of controlled aggression before his home fans.
The Mercedes driver closed the gap on Championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari - who finished seventh after suffering a ripped front-left tyre on the penultimate lap - to one point at the halfway stage of the season after leaving the field for dead with a lead of 00:13.390s established over Kimi Raikkonen, who would slip from second to third, as early as the 44th of 51 laps.
He accepted the cheers of the delighted home crowd by finishing 00:14.063s seconds clear.
Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished second after Raikkonen's left tyre, like his companion Vettel's, also blew up in the closing stages of a typically frantic British GP.
Lewis Hamilton crowdsurfs after winning the British Grand Prix
Image credit: Reuters
“It feels amazing to be up here, I am so proud to see all these great flags everywhere,” said Hamilton, who was berated by fans for missing the F1 live event in London on Wednesday.
“Thank you so much for all the great support. It’s a perfect weekend for us.
"The team were faultless this weekend, Valtteri did an incredible job as well so it's the perfect weekend for us."
Lewis Hamilton takes the applause of the crowd.
Image credit: Eurosport
Far behind in his wake, as Hamilton cruised to a 57th career win and soaked up the applause from an army of flag-waving fans, came sudden drama.
Vettel, who had battled on worn tyres but looked like securing the final podium position until the blowout, limped home after an emergency pit stop with a shower of sparks from the wheel rim.
"There was no sign of that happening," said Vettel over the team radio. "There were vibrations but I had it for 20 laps and it didn't get massively worse. The tyres didn't look great but they never look great."
But nothing could detract from Hamilton's victory. Hamilton is the first to enjoy four successive victories at Silverstone. Clark won four in a row in the 1960s, but one was at Aintree and another at Brands Hatch.
F1, Silverstone GP, Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Raikkonen (Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images
He wins his home Grand Prix for a fifth time and equals Scotsman Jim Clark's record of four straight British GP successes set between 1962-1965.
Alongside Clark and Hamilton, only Frenchman Alain Prost - victor in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1993 - has won five times at the British GP.
The Briton's drive from pole to flag on an overcast afternoon was lonely, uneventful and dominant with Bottas finishing 14 seconds behind to secure the one-two.
Vettel had battled on worn tyres but looked like securing the final podium position until the blowout.
The 10th race of the season is the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 30.
Result from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:21:27.430
2. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes +00:14.063
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:36.570
4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 00:52.125
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 01:05.955
6. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 01:08.109
7. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 01:33.989
8. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - Mercedes 1 lap
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1 lap
10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
11. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1 lap
12. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas - Ferrari 1 lap
13. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1 lap
14. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap
15. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1 lap
16. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
17. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 19 laps
r. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Renault 51 laps
r. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 51 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton,1:30.621, lap 48.
Driver and Constructor Standings after British Grand Prix