PICTURE GALLERY: Thousands flock to Northamptonshire’s Silverstone circuit to see Hamilton recover from early knock to claim second

Lewis Hamilton fought back to finish second at the British Grand Prix in front of another sell-out crowd at Northamptonshire’s Silverstone circuit.

More than 140,000 fans packed the stands to see the reigning champion, and the only British driver in the race, begin the day in pole position after he set a track record time in qualifying on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton roared back from 18th to claim a podium finish behind Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton roared back from 18th to claim a podium finish behind Sebastian Vettel

But he was overtaken immediately by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at lights out.

Then, the Finn collided with Hamilton at turn three, causing the Stevenage-born driver to leave the track and drop down to 18th.

But Mercedes’ main man rallied back to finish on the podium, thanks in part to two safety car deployments, missing out on the chance to win his fifth consecutive British Grand Prix.

Vettel won out despite being hindered by a neck injury, with his teammate Raikonnen in third and Mercedes’ Valteri Bottas in fourth.

There remains a chance this year’s race will be the last to be held at the Northamptonshire circuit with talks on the venue for upcoming British Grands Prix still ongoing.

This Morning presenter and TV favourite Phillip Schofield said it was “inconceivable” the race could be held anywhere else but Silverstone.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s the most exciting track on the calendar and there’s nothing like an experience here,” he said.

“A day out in this place is special when you’re at the home of Formula 1, here at the heart of the sport.

“I cannot imagine bothering with Formula 1 if there wasn’t a British Grand Prix.

“This is the place to be, it’s such a great day.

“It’s unthinkable that it wouldn’t be here.

“I know there are great minds at work to ensure, hopefully, that it does stay here and if it doesn’t then that would be like taking Concorde away - having something amazing and then suddenly it’s not there anymore.

According to Phil, part of the circuit’s appeal lies in the fact it’s purpose-built to accommodate large crowds, like the ones seen every year at Silverstone.

“If you look at the facilities, look at the infrastructure, look at the way 140,000 people got in and got out, and the fact it doesn’t disturb too many people because there aren’t houses built around here - there are around Brands Hatch.

“So I think that it is inconceivable that there wouldn’t be a Silverstone British Grand Prix.”

One alternative to Silverstone is a street race in London, an idea former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg was not totally against.

“Of course London would be epic,” said Rosberg. “But this place is awesome and if it’s London that’s an unbelievable thing.”

On what pleased him the most about Silverstone, the German said: “The history behind it, the track being really fast, and the fans.”

As ever the British Grand Prix was a star-studded event. Pictured among the usual F1 suspects like David Coulthard, Johnny Herbert, Jenson Button and Sir Jackie Stewart were a number of celebrities.

Hollywood’s Michael Douglas was seen taking in the fine weather and the on-track drama, as were Jennifer Saunders and her husband Ade Edmondson, recently knighted Sir Kenny Dalglish, Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham, Jodie Kidd, golfer Ian Poulter, ex-Manchester United Michael Carrick, magician Dynamo, England cricketer Tom Curran, British number one tennis player Kyle Edmund, TV’s Simon Thomas, comedian John Bishop and former Spice Girl and Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner’s wife Geri Horner.