Nico Rosberg scored his third career Grand Prix victory in Formula 1, resisting the challenge from Mark Webber, to take the chequered flag at Silverstone.
The Mercedes driver benefitted from a non-finish from championship leader Sebastian Vettel in a race full of left-rear tyre blowouts.
Rosberg’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was leading until he became the first man to suffer a tyre blow, with Vettel then controlling the British Grand Prix until his Red Bull lost drive in the closing stages.
That set up a thrilling finale as Vettel’s team-mate Webber, who had fallen to P15 on the opening lap, hunted down Rosberg, while Fernando Alonso and the recovering Hamilton charged past Kimi Raikkonen into third and fourth place.
Hamilton had established a two-second lead over Vettel, who jumped Rosberg off the line, by lap seven, when his left-rear tyre blew.
That was followed soon after by an identical failure for Felipe Massa. The Ferrari driver had thrust from P11 on the grid to fifth at the start and was pushing Adrian Sutil for third when his tyre gave well too.
When Jean-Eric Vergne’s left-rear tyre also exploded, the safety car came out for seven laps, with engineers urging their drivers to avoid the kerbs.
Vettel kept Rosberg behind him as the race restarted. Sutil ran third until leaving his second pit stop too late and being jumped by Raikkonen, Alonso and Webber.
The Australian was on a charge from 15th after a slow start and a first-corner brush with Romain Grosjean, and overtook Alonso going into the closing stages.
Just as the result seemed settled, Vettel ground to a halt with a loss of drive.
With the stranded Red Bull prompting a safety car, Rosberg dived in for a third tyre stop and rejoined still ahead of Raikkonen.
Webber and Alonso also went for tyres and dropped to fifth and eighth, elevating Sutil and Daniel Ricciardo to third and fourth.
Webber made great use of his fresh tyres to quickly pick off Ricciardo and Sutil, and then battle past Raikkonen.
By the final lap the Red Bull was within a second of Rosberg, who held on to win by seven tenths of a second.
Alonso also made rapid progress on his new set of Pirelli, dodging the McLaren of Sergio Perez as it became yet another tyre-blow victim, then fighting through to third.
The recovering Hamilton followed through, demoting Raikkonen – who had questioned the Lotus team’s decision not to pit under the late safety car – to fifth.
Massa climbed back to sixth after his puncture, with Sutil and Ricciardo pushed back to seventh and eighth ahead of Paul di Resta, who started from the back of the grid after his car was found underweight, and Nico Hulkenberg.
Jenson Button had been on course for points for McLaren until the final laps, when he was demoted down to P13.
So an eventful British Grand Prix, with the sudden tyre failures becoming the main talking point at Silverstone. In terms of the championship, the non-finish for Sebastian Vettel has made it exciting with Fernando Alonso now 21 points behind.
British Grand Prix race results, 52 laps:
1. Rosberg Mercedes 1h32:59.456
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault +0.765
3. Alonso Ferrari +7.124
4. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +7.756
5. Hamilton Mercedes +11.257
6. Massa Ferrari +14.573
7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +16.335
8. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +16.543
9. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes +17.943
10. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +19.709
11. Maldonado Williams-Renault +21.135
12. Bottas Williams-Renault +25.094
13. Button McLaren-Mercedes +25.900
14. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +26.200
15. Pic Caterham-Renault +31.600
16. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth +36.000
17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +1:07.600
18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault +1:07.700
19. Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 lap
Fastest lap: Webber, 1:33.401
Perez McLaren-Mercedes 47 laps
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 42 laps
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 36 laps
World Championship standings, round 8:
1. Vettel 132
2. Alonso 111
3. Raikkonen 100
4. Hamilton 87
5. Webber 87
6. Rosberg 82
7. Massa 57
8. Di Resta 36
9. Grosjean 26
10. Button 25
11. Sutil 23
12. Vergne 13
13. Perez 12
14. Ricciardo 11
15. Hulkenberg 6
1. Red Bull-Renault 219
2. Mercedes 169
3. Ferrari 168
4. Lotus-Renault 126
5. Force India-Mercedes 59
6. McLaren-Mercedes 37
7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 24
8. Sauber-Ferrari 6
Next race: German Grand Prix, Nurburgring. July 5-7.