Lewis Hamilton closes gap on rival Nico Rosberg after winning British Grand Prox

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the 2016 British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the 2016 British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton crowd-surfed his way into the record books on Sunday night after a fearless display ensured a hat-trick of consecutive victories at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton controlled the rain-hit race to become the first driver to win at Silverstone on three straight occasions, and move to within just one point of Nico Rosberg after the championship leader was hit with a 10-second retrospective timed penalty.

Rosberg crossed the line second behind Hamilton, but was deemed to have been in breach of the sport’s strict radio rules after he sought advice for a gearbox problem in the closing stages of the race. As such he dropped to third with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen promoted to runner-up.

The verdict of the stewards - nearly four hours after the chequered flag fell in front of a record crowd - will no doubt come as a further boost to Hamilton, who ran down the podium steps after he was presented with the winners’ trophy, jumped on to the barrier, before falling back into the arms of his supporters.

It marked another iconic moment for Hamilton in a career where he is now just three wins short of his half-century.

“Apart from standing there on the podium holding the trophy up and the bottle, there’s no real way of connecting with the people,” Hamilton said.

“I put the trophy down, and I could see the crowd and I just wanted to connect with them in some way. As I got there I was like, I want to go over the top.

“I was hoping that I would crowd-surf further in and then I would have to say ‘take me back’ but I got right to the edge and I stayed there for like a second and then they pushed me back on, but it is very very cool to see the support here. It is just phenomenal.

“I would definitely say today that I was never under threat from either of the guys behind. I already had a gap of six seconds so I never needed to do more or less.”