Lewis Hamilton leads from start to finish to take the chequered flag at rainy Silverstone, Brit delight as world champion claims fourth win in five race at home Grand Prix despite chaotic showery start.

Lewis Hamilton won his fourth British Grand Prix to equal Nigel Mansell’s record.

Home-crowd hero Ham beat his struggling Mercedes team-mate who finished second after a thrilling battle with third-placed Max Verstappen. Hamilton also made it the first ever hat-trick of home grand prix wins at Silverstone in front of 139,000 fans. With six laps to go Rosberg reported gearbox problems and 18-year-old Verstappen ran out of laps as he attempted to chip away at the time gap.

The German is also under investigation from the stewards who could penalise him further after being told how to fix his gearbox problems.

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A huge downpour soaked the grid before the off and F1 chiefs panicked and ordered the drivers to start behind the safety car for just the 11th time in history – even though the rain stopped before lights out.

Former driver Martin Brundle said: “I think they made the decision too early, it was perfectly acceptable conditions.”

For five laps of the 3.6mile circuit the 22 cars snaked round in a boring precession before they were unleashed. Chaos then followed as half the grid pitted to change their tyres with absolute pandemonium and a few near misses as cars jostled to get to their mechanics.

Sebastian Vettell was the first man onto the slick tyres and spun his Ferrari as he struggled to keep all four wheels on the track. Fernando Alonso then copied the four-times world champ by doing an incredible 720 spin before amazingly driving back onto the track to carry on. Hamilton then made it a hat-trick of champs spinning off as he did it at turn one on lap 27. Jenson Button managed to get round safely in a miserable 12th place with no such problems. Fellow Brit Jolyon Palmer’s disastrous weekend got worse when his Renault mechanics FORGOT to put a right rear wheel on his car when he pitted on lap 17.

His race was finally over on lap 40 as hie car conked out at his home grand prix. Out front Hamilton stayed clear of trouble and despite a couple of hairy moments managed to get home safe and dry. Behind him flying Dutchman Verstappen showed balls of steel as he passed Rosberg in a superb move at Stowe on lap 16 to bring the race to life.

Screaming past the German at 150mph the teenager made the move stick to kick off a dog-fight between the duo.

Rosberg was then unhappy when he felt Verstappen moved twice in front of him to defence his second place position. But he finally got his place back on lap 39 when he did exactly the same thing to the Red Bull ace and managed to hold on to the end.