Hamilton recovered to second, aided by Mercedes' decision not to pit him for fresh tyres under a safety auto to gain track position, but looked tense alongside Raikkonen while the top three waited to go onto the podium post-race.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said after the race that he was "not comfortable at all with the incident because it's tiresome being taken out in the first lap". "In James Allison's words, 'do you think it..."
In doing so, Raikkonen's Ferrari made contact with Hamilton's Mercedes, which sent Hamilton's auto spinning in front of the crowd in his home race. Listening to the chatter between Hamilton and the pits, I felt that Lewis nearly dropped his chin after that incident.
Vettel crossed the line an ecstatic man, recording Ferrari's first win at the Mercedes-dominated circuit since 2011 and Vettel's first victory in England since 2009.
"I was a bit concerned going into the race but we managed to loosen it up a bit and I was fine, and probably a bit of adrenaline helped". There's no doubt that it was a silly mistake - and one that deserved the ten-second time penalty handed out by the stewards - but it was in no way deliberate.
Instead, the Mercedes driver slipped eight points behind Sebastian Vettel, with the real possibility that his German rival will be leading into the August break.
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"Interesting tactics I would say from their side but we will do what we can to fight them in the next".
However, he was playing catch-up from as early as the third turn of the race, with Kimi Raikkonen locking his front wheel and sliding into Hamilton's rear, causing the Mercedes to spin.
"Matteo Bonciani of the FIA said "be careful with him, he's really not happy at all at the moment". But after yesterday's very close qualifying session, it was encouraging to see the underlying pace of the auto - and that we had better tyre usage than our competitors. He held on until lap 47, when Vettel took advantage of a slight wobble from Bottas exiting The Loop onto the Wellington Straight, and drafted him towards Brooklands before diving inside very late as Bottas failed to cover the inside line. "Sometimes we say dumb s**t and we learn from it".
As for Mercedes' chances on Sunday, Wolff added: "We know already that it will be a tough race tomorrow, and especially so with two Ferraris starting right behind Lewis".
While the German vehicle manufacturer has taken pole position at the last three grands prix, on each occasion Ferrari has caused trouble by being able to make much better getaways.
As they headed into the final five laps, the top four cars were separated by only 1.6 seconds with the two Red Bulls in pursuit until, on lap 47, Verstappen spun at Club and Vettel squeezed past Bottas, at Brooklands, to seize the initiative.