The win was Vettel's fourth of the season, 51st of his career, and once-dominant champions Mercedes' first defeat at Silverstone since 2012 before the V6 turbo era started.
Sebastian Vettel says it is "silly" to accuse Ferrari of intentionally sabotaging Lewis Hamilton's race after his teammate Kimi Raikkonen collided with the Mercedes driver on the first lap of the British Grand Prix.
He expanded further in the post race press conference, where race victor Sebastian Vettel sat between him and Raikkonen.
He had brought it down to 2.4s when Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his auto when he turned into the first corner with DRS still open and flew across the gravel and nose-first into the tyres.
"Sebastian drove a great race, fighting like a lion despite the pain in the neck", Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. But doing the opposite was the choice we went for and at the end it brought us a P2 and P4 and I think considering how the race started, we need to accept the result as an acceptable outcome with real damage limitation.
Despite Hamilton's drive back to second from last, Ferrari's double podium means it has opened up the lead in both championships.
Then when Sauber's Marcus Ericsson skidded off with 19 laps left, Hamilton was handed another lifeline with a safety auto. But Ferrari, the victor with championship leader Sebastian Vettel, dismissed the suggestion and others also jumped to its defence.
Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas led and might have won but for a second safety vehicle, after Renault's Carlos Sainz and Haas's Romain Grosjean collided, that kept the front four nose to tail and only fractions apart. "I gave everything I could, I was struggling to stand".
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"We've got to work hard as a team to try to lock out the front row and make sure we're fully ahead of these guys".
"Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side", Hamilton complained immediately afterward.
Pole-sitter Hamilton was hit by Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3, causing him to spin and fall to the bottom of the timesheets before a stunning rise through the field put him in contention for a high finish.
"It was my mistake".
"I think the strategy was pretty good".
Raikkonen continued behind both Red Bulls but was handed a 10-second penalty, which would negate his on-track pass of Daniel Ricciardo into Copse, while Hamilton resumed in 17th.
He was soon up to 16th and by lap nine he was eighth, but some distance from Vettel, who led Bottas by six seconds on lap 12.
Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the Haas while Pierre Gasly finished 10th but was demoted after a five-second penalty that lifted Force India's Sergio Perez into the points.