It was almost coming home.
The crowd went wild and chanted his name, the Mercedes man overcome with emotion in his post-qualifying interview: “I gave it everything I could. I was just praying I could do it for you guys.”
A weekend of British sporting glory looked on the cards – England did their bit against Sweden in the World Cup quarter-final – with Hamilton probably only needing a good start to become the all-time king of the British Grand Prix.
Sometimes, however, the stars don’t align and lights out saw the red Ferrari of Vettel shoot off the line and into first place.
A superbly executed drive clawed back a second-placed finish but the crowd-surfing celebrations of previous victories weren’t to be repeated.
Germany makes its return to the F1 calendar with Vettel holding an eight-point championship lead over Hamilton. The German has never won at Hockenheim, taking just one win at the Nurburgring in 2013.
Can Vettel succeed where Hamilton couldn’t and claim a grand prix victory on home soil this weekend?
Tell us what you think.