Lewis Hamilton drove himself to yet another landmark by winning the British Grand Prix for a record seventh time – on three wheels.
From pole position, the Englishman led all afternoon before a flurry of late activity threatened to derail his dominance. Hamilton, 35, was in a two-horse race with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas until the dramatic last two laps.
Bottas suffered a puncture and then Hamilton front-left went on him, too. He just limped over the line, his rubber shredded, 5.8sec ahead of Verstappen in an astonishing late twist.
The Dutchman would have won but for going in for fresh tyres to attack, successfully, for the quickest lap.
Hamilton crossed the line, just ahead – a heart-stopping end after an otherwise turgid race.
Verstappen was a street ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in third. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth.
Over the years Hamilton has celebrated in style amid the cheers and flag-waving of a throbbing crowd here but this race behind closed doors was very different, the atmosphere flatter, as he accepted the prize.
This was the first of a double-header at Silverstone in successive weeks. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix comes next Sunday, when nobody is expected to challenge the might of the black-liveried Mercedes.
The die was cast early – at the first corner, Abbey – when Hamilton held off the faster start of Bottas around the outside. He was in charge from that moment on, though he was kept honest for all the 52 laps as Bottas hovered for a long time barely one second down – though he finished 11th and out of the points with his late delamination.
The safety car was deployed twice. The first instance was when Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen collided at Luffield. Magnussen’s race ended there and then.
The stewards blamed Albon for the smash, giving him a five-second penalty, though Magnussen, on the racing line, seemed to have left Albon with little room to manoeuvre.
The safety car came out a second time when Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat went into a concrete wall at the flat-out Maggots. Running over the kerbs, he lost control, perhaps with a suspension problem or a flat rear right tyre, spun and hit the wall almost front on before being ricocheted from the gravel into the grass.
He walked away unharmed, accepted responsibility, but then pushed the cameraman who was filming his walk away from the scene.
The McLaren of Lando Norris was fifth. George Russell moved up from 20th to finish 12th for Williams. Albon finished eighth – a poor performance given Verstappen’s speed in the same machinery.
Nico Hulkenberg, who was called up to replace Sergio Perez in the Racing Point, had his afternoon wrecked before the race began, when a technical problem confined his car to the garage before a wheel was turned.