Lewis Hamilton said a fourth British Grand Prix triumph goes beyond his ‘wildest dreams’ after he moved to within a solitary point of championship rival Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton claimed win number four on home soil, and his third in successive years, following a rain-hit race of which he led every lap.
The defending champion crossed the line ahead of his Brackley-based Mercedes team-mate Rosberg in front of a record Silverstone crowd of 139,000 fans.
And Hamilton’s day was made even better when Rosberg was demoted to third for breaching the sport’s strict team radio rules as he sought to resolve a gearbox issue in the closing stages.
His Mercedes team promptly announced it was their intention to lodge an appeal against the decision.
For Hamilton, there was no such drama as he claimed his fourth victory in five races to get the defence of his championship firmly back on track.
“This is honestly beyond my wildest dreams,” said Hamilton who headed from Northamptonshire to London to celebrate his victory on Sunday night.
“When I was younger I didn’t see the other stuff that comes with being a Formula One driver.
“I was just in awe of the racing and it wasn’t until I grew up that I started to understand.
“Now I’m just trying to bask in the glory and enjoy it because one day I’ll be watching someone else, hopefully a young Brit, winning here and I want to make the most of these moments.
“For now though, it’s my time - our time - and thank you so much to everyone out there.”
Hamilton led from start to finish in a race which began behind the safety car following a deluge of rain at the south Northamptonshire circuit.
When the safety car peeled in at the end of lap five, Hamilton opened up an astonishing lead of almost four seconds in just one lap.
From there, he never looked back, and will head to the Hungarian Grand Prix having taken 42 points out of Rosberg’s lead in just five races.
“Today, we saw a Lewis that was confident, extremely focussed and calm,” Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. “On a day like this Lewis Hamilton is unstoppable.”
Not for the first time this year, Hamilton’s championship rival Rosberg struggled in the inclement conditions.
And his 10-second penalty, which was announced nearly four hours after the conclusion of the race, capped a difficult race.
Rosberg, who was harshly subjected to boos on the podium, said: “Lewis did a better job over the whole weekend and deserved the win, so congratulations to him.
“I recognise that some guys out there don’t like me as much as Lewis.
“But that’s normal in his home country and I felt that the majority was very supportive.”