In front of 140,000 fans at Silverstone, Hamilton secured the lead for the first time with just three laps to go. Having been over 10 seconds behind Charles Leclerc at one point, the seven-time world champion cut inside Copse corner to force the Ferrari wide and into a mistake.
It was at the same corner that the day’s most significant moment occurred on the opening lap. Hamilton started in second place on the grid behind Verstappen and was in soon in the middle of an exhilarating scrap with his title rival in the Red Bull.
Both men exchanged the lead throughout the first trip around the track. By the time they approached Copse, Hamilton had just about nudged his nose ahead only for Vertsappen to come screaming on the outside and arrowing towards the corner’s apex.
Neither man relented. Hamilton’s front left made contact with Verstappen’s back right. The Brit incurred minor damage. The Dutchman was sent hurtling off the track, across the gravel and into the tyre barrier at a frightening pace.
A red flag brought a halt to the race as repair work was carried out on the permitter. Verstappen waved to the crowd but his race was over.
Hamilton was handed a 10 second stop-and-go penalty - the second mildest sanction available to the race stewards. Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner was left fuming. Replays suggested that though both drivers could have done more, it was fair to chalk this one down as a racing incident.
And so Hamilton marched on, knowing full well that his tyres would eventually need changing and that he’d need to serve his punishment.
He eventually relented just past the half-way mark and boxed on the 27th lap. When he emerged he was 35.44 seconds off the lead with Leclerc still to pit.
Once Leclerc rejoined the scene from his own top-up, Hamilton pushed even harder. He set a new fastest lap on the 31st and again on the 39th.
He passed his teammate Valterri Bottas with 11 laps to go and just over eight seconds between himself and the Ferrari down the road. That gap eroded by the lap.
His move to assume control of the race was simultaneously astounding and inevitable, such was the ascendancy he demonstrated in the closing stages.
“It is massively overwhelming,” Hamilton said. “It was such a physically difficult race with the best crowd. A home crowd is the best. It is a dream to do this in front of you all.”
Reflecting on his collision with Verstappen, he said: “I have been giving my all this week. I always try to be measured in battles with Max and he is aggressive.
“I was fully alongside him and he did not give me the space but regardless of whether I agree with the penalty I was not going to let anything get in the way of the national anthem and the British flag.”
Hamilton, already a contender for the greatest this sport has ever seen, put in a masterclass in how to chase down a win from a hopeless situation. To claim victory after a 10 second penalty is nothing short of remarkable. That he did so with a vociferous home crowd in attendance only adds to the narrative.