However, the Briton was unable to add to his four successive wins at this circuit as Vettel passed Valtteri Bottas with five laps remaining and secured victory to go eight points clear of Hamilton in the championship.
The win was Vettel's fourth of the season, 51st of his career, and once-dominant champions Mercedes' first defeat at Silverstone since 2012 before the V6 turbo hybrid era started.
Opting to keep both cars out while the Ferraris pitted, it lifted them up to first and third with Vettel emerging just behind Bottas. I couldn't see behind me but we've just to work hard to try to position ourselves better so that we are not exposed to the red cars - because who knows when that's going to happen again.
"It's a lot of points that ultimately Valtteri (Bottas) and I have lost in those two scenarios".
By lap 11 Hamilton was up to sixth and right back in the hunt having swept past a succession of drivers using the superior power of his Mercedes. The appearance of the safety auto on the 33rd of 52 laps, after Sauber's Marcus Ericsson crashed at Abbey, was greeted with a huge cheer from the 140,500 crowd who had already cheered Hamilton's every overtake. No doubt the safety vehicle has helped Hamilton and a few others along too.
England make it to first semi-final in 28 years
As the match ended on Saturday a peak of 19.9 million tuned in to watch the England side reach their furthest stage in the World Cup since 1990.
"This is the greatest race of the year and the greatest crowd, I am sorry I could not bring it home for you today", Hamilton told the crowd. "I guess I wanted to give a boost to England", he said.
"Well my team did an incredible job this weekend and we've got so much support and so much pressure, obviously for us all", the four-time World Champion said. "Interesting tactics I would say from their side (Ferrari), but we'll do what we can to fight them". But what made the "great win" doubly impressive was that he had nearly not taken part due to an injured neck.
"At the third corner I locked the wheel so I ended up hitting Lewis on the rear corner. He spun, my bad", said the 2007 world champion. I deserve it, I took the 10 seconds and got fighting.
A late collision between Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen left the Dutchman limping toward the finish but the former was able to hold on to fifth.
That dropped the Mercedes man to the back of the pack and Raikkonen was handed a ten second time penalty, served at the first round of pit stops.
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