The victory in front of an estimated 140,000 fans – a timely reminder of the sport’s enduring appeal despite doom-laden headlines – made Hamilton only the third Briton, after Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell, to win three times at home.
It was a race that, to be fair, F1 needed.
On the previous occasions he has triumphed here, in 2008 and a year ago, he has been crowned the world champion. Not until now, anyway.
Once in front, Hamilton was in control to claim a tense 38th win of his career.
And it only got worse for the Williams duo as a second, much heavier, rain shower hit.
Hamilton was stunned when Massa, who started third, and team-mate Bottas leapfrogged both the pole-sitter and Rosberg off the start-line.
In the auto, Hamilton was unperturbed. And I knew at that point there were only two laps to go and I had kept it together. “I was more concerned about losing position to Nico”. I don’t go into Silverstone thinking I might not ever finish on the podium.
At that stage, the race looked won, but that was counting without the rain.
Scattered showers at the Silverstone circuit added to the drama late on and Hamiltons switch to intermediary tires came with a well-timed pit stop which allowed him to beat Rosberg by nearly 11 seconds. “Great job guys, I’m so happy with that”. And it was Hamilton who emerged from the garage for his second run, eager to throw the gauntlet down to Rosberg.
Earlier, Bernie Ecclestone said he is still hoping to keep Monza on the calendar after next year following further discussions with Italian Grand Prix officials.
This weekend was a case in point. LH: To be honest my clutch was good; it’s just that we had really quite poor grip I think at the start. It is fantastic to see how many people are here, it is the home grand prix for the team (Williams) and it is great to see.
“He was very open about that on Friday”, Wolff said, “that he was lost on his set-up and Nico was the quicker guy”.
Team-mate Jenson Button was one of seven retirements after becoming involved in the lap-one collision which brought out the Safety vehicle and also saw the retirements of Lotus pair Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. How important is it to win in front of your home crowd?
At this point, it is worth rewinding the clock two weeks to Austria.
Hamilton has 194 points and Rosberg has 177.
Hamilton slithered off the circuit at the 265kph Copse corner as the rain began to dance off the asphalt.
Most notably, he responded following the end of his long-term romance with American singer Nicole Scherzinger by starting this season in a positive and successful mood.
Vettel had stopped for the wet-weather tires at the same time as Hamilton to gain track position in his Ferrari. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. Or, as was the case on Sunday, in racing situations, or when it rains mid-race.
It meant Hamilton comfortably reclaimed the lead after Rosberg had to crawl around for another lap on the hard compounds as the conditions worsened, with the world champion’s 10.9s margin of victory not giving the full story of his tense late fight with the German.