Germany's Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari, behind Rosberg, with Williams driver Felipe Massa bumped off the podium after leading for the first 20 laps following a blistering start.

On a tricky afternoon of safety cars, sunshine and showers Hamilton timed his tyre strategy to perfection to chalk up his 38th career win and fifth of the season -- and get his hands on a 'proper' gold trophy.

The victory in front of an estimated 140,000 fans -- a timely reminder of the sport's enduring appeal despite doom-laden headlines -- made Hamilton only the third Briton, after Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell, to win three times at home.

"I really wanted to do it for you guys," he told the crowd from the podium. "I am so thankful for all the support. I could see all the fans on every lap in the corner of my eye and it spurred me on.

The Briton, who had complained about poor grip on his way to the grid, made a sluggish start from pole position as Massa roared through from the second row to lead into the first corner.

"I am so elated you cannot imagine," he said after a day that could so easily have gone badly wrong.

Rosberg, who was fourth at the end of the first lap, said his team mate had timed it exactly right in pitting for intermediates just as the rain began to come down hard.

The German stayed out for another slippery lap before also pitting.

"I was pushing hard to try and catch Lewis under difficult conditions but he made the better call and that is where I lost it. Fair play to him," said the German, who now has 177 points to Hamilton's 194.

Mercedes, with their sixth one-two of the season, took another massive step towards retaining the constructors' title and have 371 points to Ferrari's 211.

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