The Mercedes driver, now only eight points behind Verstap pen after 10 races, passed Ferrari's Charles Leclerc for the lead with two laps to go as a capacity 140,000 crowd rose to cheer him on.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix, at the Silverstone circuit, in Silverstone, England, July 18, 2021
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix, at the Silverstone circuit, in Silverstone, England, July 18, 2021 (AP)

Lewis Hamilton roared back from a first-lap incident that sent championship leader Max Verstappen to the hospital and overcame a 10-second penalty to win the British Grand Prix and reignite his title defense.

The seven-time champion won at his home track to snap a run of five races without a victory and slash the gap to Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship from 33 points to eight.

“Honestly it’s been such a hard year, one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, I love this battle but emotional roller coaster as it always is within a championship,” Hamilton said.

"Did I think that we would ever be back in the title fight? I prayed and hoped for it but I thought that it would be a long slog to try and regain any of the points. We’re now closer, he’s still got quite a few points ahead but the race is on.”

Roared on by a crowd of more than 140,000 on Sunday, Hamilton attempted to overtake Verstappen on Copse corner on the first lap.

Verstappen refused to yield. The two touched wheels and the Red Bull went careening off the track and into the barrier. Hamilton drove on with just a broken wheel rim.

READ MORE: Verstappen wins Austrian Grand Prix, extends overall lead

'Hollow victory'

"Glad I'm ok," tweeted Verstappen from hospital. "Very disappointed with being taken out like this."

His boss Cristian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, had already laid into Hamilton who won his home race for the eighth time.

"I hope Lewis is very happy with himself," said Horner. "That's a hollow victory."

"Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world. You don't stick a wheel up the inside. That's just dirty driving."

Hamilton said after the race that he had felt "a lot of anger after the shunt" and blamed Verstap pen.

"I don't feel he needs to be aggressive as he is," he said. "I would never back down from anyone. I will not be bullied into being less aggressive.

"We needed the points. He left a gap and I went for it."

READ MORE: Hamilton extends contract with 'incredible' Mercedes until 2023

Charles Leclerc grabbed the lead before racing was suspended while crews cleared away the Red Bull and Verstappen was taken to hospital for tests.

It was "a pretty impressive impact," said Dr. Ian Roberts, Formula One's medical rescue co-ordinator.

He said Verstappen was "a little winded to say the least" but added there were "no injuries apparent at th e moment".

Stewards imposed a 10 second-penalty, the second lightest punishment available to them, on Hamilton who was still able to chase down Leclerc.

READ MORE: Lewis Hamilton wins Turkish Grand Prix

Red Bull streak at an end

Hamilton's win ended Red Bull's streak of five straight victories to cut Verstappen's lead in the championship to eight points.

Monegasque Leclerc was second, 3.81sec back to revive Ferrari's season.
The second Mercedes, driven by Finn Valtteri Bottas, who had allowed Hamilton to pass after the penalty, was third, ahead of the McLarens of Briton Lando Norris and Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

It was a bad afternoon for Red Bull with Sergio Perez finishing 16th and outside the points to drop from third to fifth in the standings.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies