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.
Things went from bad to worse for the four-time world champion as a nudge on the rear tyre from Kimi Raikkonen saw his car spin off the track and down the field.
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.