SILVERSTONE (Britain) • Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to win a hat-trick of consecutive British Grands Prix yesterday when he finished 6.9 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton also pulled level with Nigel Mansell with four wins in the event as he closed the gap on championship leader Rosberg to just four points - it was 43 after the first five races of the season.
That was the situation at the end of the race, at least. Just before the chequered flag, Rosberg was warned that he was under investigation for receiving radio instructions from his team.
The German was apparently slowed down by a gearbox problem with five laps remaining. He crossed the line with a question mark over his result after Mercedes seemingly broke the rules on radio advice by giving him too much information on how to fix the problem.
"It was a very critical problem because I was stuck in seventh gear and about to stop on track," said Rosberg, who added that he was confident what he had been told was within the rules.
BRITISH GP RESULTS
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 34min 55.831sec
2 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes +6.911sec
3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull +8.250
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull +26.211
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari +1:09.743
6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India +1:16.941
7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India +1:17.712
8 Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp) Toro Rosso +1:25.858
9 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +1:31.654
10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso +1:32.600
DRIVERS' STANDINGS: 1 Rosberg 171 points 2 Hamilton 167 3 Raikkonen 106 4 Ricciardo 100 5 Vettel 98.
CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS: 1 Mercedes 338 points 2 Ferrari 204 3 Red Bull 195 4 Williams 92 5 Force India 73.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda told Sky Sports F1 after the race: "There was a gearbox issue, but we don't know what it is basically. There was discussion about it, but I think it was all within the limits."
The race was marred by heavy rain 15 minutes before the start, which meant it began behind a safety car. And Hamilton once again proved himself the master of wet conditions right from the start.
Once the safety car came in, the British driver opened up a lead of almost four seconds on the first lap and he controlled the race from that moment.
Finishing behind Hamilton and Rosberg were the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen, who had battled heroically with the German, and Daniel Ricciardo. They were followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez of Force India.
By Lap 25, Hamilton was surging 5.9sec clear of Verstappen, who was in second place and defending against a rampant Rosberg.
The championship leader finally passed Verstappen on Lap 38 and began to hunt down Hamilton, who was 8.2sec ahead.
The German swiftly cut that to 7.6sec with 11 laps remaining while his compatriot Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, who had forced Williams' Felipe Massa off a few laps earlier, was handed a five-second penalty. Vettel finished ninth.
At the front, Rosberg reeled off fastest laps, but Hamilton nursed his car, and the tyres, as he retained a six-second lead until, on Lap 47, Rosberg fell back to 11 seconds behind due to his gearbox problem.
"I am so grateful," said Hamilton.
"We've got the best fans here, thank you so much. The good English weather came out. It was so tricky in those conditions. But that's what I love about this race - something always happens.
"Ever since 2007, I have felt the energy from the fans here, the best crowd in the world - the success speeds up that connection. Every time I made it through certain corners, I could see the fans in the corner of my eye.
"In the closing laps, I could see them shouting. I am very honoured. It is a very humbling experience to be in this sport, particularly in a time of difficulty in the world and see so much love in the world.
"On this day, we come together and it is a beautiful thing.
Rosberg, who was booed by fans in a reversal of what happened at the Austrian GP the previous week, admitted he could do little to stop Hamilton closing the gap on him.
"It was a tricky start," he said. "Congrats to Lewis. I couldn't catch him today, no way."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE