Lewis Hamilton gave the home fans a reason to party after claiming a vital victory at the British Grand Prix.
The 2008 champion was unchallenged as he took his second win at Silverstone and saw the gap to teammate Nico Rosberg close to just four points at the top of the championship standings after the German was forced to retire with a gearbox problem.
Valtteri Bottas took advantage of a huge crash for Kimi Raikkonen and made a one-stop strategy work to claim second for Williams with Daniel Ricciardo pulling off a remarkable 37-lap stint on the option tyres to take third.
Rosberg leads away as Raikkonen crashes
At the start it was Rosberg who lead away from pole with Sebastian Vettel slipping back allowing both McLaren's through into the first corner.
Hamilton also made a good start from sixth and was able to barge past the Red Bull driver exiting village and move up to fourth.
Then came a huge accident as Raikkonen, starting from 18th, ran wide exiting aintree onto the wellington straight and, as the Ferrari driver tried to recover back on track, hit a bump which speared his car into the barrier and back across the track.
In his 200th grand prix, Felipe Massa's race would be brought to a halt as he was unsighted when the damaged Ferrari rolled across the circuit meaning the Brazilian had to spin to avoid a head-on crash. He would make contact with the rear of the car, however, damaging his rear suspension.
The incident brought out the first red flag on the opening lap in over a decade and the barriers had to be repaired following the crash causing a one hour delay in the action.
Race restarts, Hamilton moves up to second
When the repairs were done, the race ran one lap behind the safety car before restarting properly with Rosberg again leading the way.
Hamilton, now in fourth, was a man on a mission, however, as he dispatched Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in quick succession to move into second and concentrated on catching Rosberg.
Behind, the two Red Bulls had used the red flag period to switch to the hard compound tyres while Fernando Alonso made the opposite switch to the medium option rubber.
As Bottas moved ahead of Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, it was the Australian who was stuck behind the Force India for a brief time but, ever the opportunist, Alonso took advantage of the battling pair to move through on both.
Despite the switch to the hard prime tyres, Red Bull were among the first to pit under green flag conditions moving back to the supposedly faster medium tyres.
Rosberg would pit not long after staying on the mediums, however, as the German has done at races prior when he was the second car, Hamilton waited a few laps later before pitting and switching to the hard compound tyres.
That proved to be the right call as Hamilton started taking a second per lap out of Rosberg, but with the Briton gaining the fans were deprived of another great battle as Nico suffered his first retirement in 2014 after pulling off with gearbox problems.
As Bottas looked to make his good top speed and one-stop strategy work, the Finn pulled some wonderful moves, notably at stowe, and would be up to second following Rosberg's issues. However, he was over 40 seconds behind the leading Mercedes of Hamilton.
Vettel vs Alonso
After the Mercedes battle didn't materialise, fans were not left disappointed as arguably the two best drivers on the grid scrapped it out.
Following his second stop, Vettel had emerged in fifth just ahead of Alonso's Ferrari and Magnussen's McLaren but, despite fresher tyres, the German found himself behind the Spaniard after a brilliant move on the approach to copse corner.
The McLaren would hold back as Vettel and Alonso put on a fight worthy of any boxing ring.
There was claim after claim of each man exceeding track limits or not leaving any room, indeed Vettel thought he had passed Alonso twice only for the two-time champion to steam back ahead on the inside as the Ferrari continued to just keep the Red Bull at bay.
Finally, after several close calls, Vettel was able to get on the inside on the exit of luffield, as the two ran centimetres apart at approaching 180mph and moved back ahead into copse en route to fifth place.
Home success for Hamilton
At the front, a precautionary second stop meant Hamilton was only half a minute clear of Bottas as the Briton took a fifth win of 2014 and second at Silverstone while the Williams was also untroubled in second.
The battle was on for third, however, as Ricciardo - on very old option tyres - was being chased down hard by Button.
As fans went 'Pink for Papa' on race day in remembrance of Jenson's late father John Button, a dream first home podium was just out of reach as Ricciardo claimed third by just seven tenths of a second from the McLaren.
Vettel, Alonso and Magnussen completed the top seven as Hulkenberg salvaged eighth on a disappointing day for Force India. The two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top 10.
But the day belonged to Hamilton who completed celebratory doughnuts heading back to the pits - much to the delight of the home crowd.
With the championship now back almost level, the shoe switches foot as Hamilton heads into enemy territory for Rosberg's home race: the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in two weeks time.
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