He may have lost out on pole position, but from the moment the lights went out at the start Hamilton was in complete command at Hockenheim.
As polesitter Nico Rosberg was slow away, Hamilton went straight into the lead as the German also fell behind the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, the Dutchman going round the outside of his team mate in Turn 1 to claim second.
Under pressure, Rosberg clung to fourth place, just fending off the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
It was soon clear that this was Hamilton’s race to lose, but his pit stops went perfectly and he never lost the lead.
Behind him, Rosberg fought hard to recover and on lap 30 the German completed a muscular pass on Verstappen at the hairpin. However, the Dutchman was quick to complain about being forced off the track, and after a stewards investigation Rosberg was handed a five-second penalty.
The German served the penalty at his final stop on the 44th lap and dropped back to fourth, but thereafter he didn’t have the pace to overhaul the Red Bulls.
Rain drops at the end looked like they might make things tricky for everyone, but in the end Hamilton managed Ricciardo’s valiant challenge perfectly despite heavy lapped traffic, putting in quick laps when necessary. In the end he was 6.9s ahead as he took the flag for his 49th Grand Prix victory - and his sixth win in the last seven races.
Verstappen, who, on a slightly different three-stop strategy to Ricciardo had earlier let his team mate past, closed on the Australian for a while before eventually settling for third and another podium, as Rosberg trailed home fourth. The Ferraris were a lonely fifth and sixth, having never really been in the game - and they now trail Red Bull in the standings. Food for thought for those at Maranello heading into the summer break…
The two-stopping Valtteri Bottas held seventh for Williams for much of the race, but as his tyres faded he was overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India, and Jenson Button, who drove a superb race for McLaren to take eighth. Bottas clung to ninth, just ahead of Sergio Perez, who spent his race recovering from a poor start, but pipped the other McLaren of Fernando Alonso to the final world championship point with a late pass.
Alonso had been chasing Button for a long time, but as he faded he was passed not only by Perez but also by the feisty Esteban Gutierrez, who had a racelong fight with Haas team mate Romain Grosjean; they sandwiched the Spaniard at the end.
Carlos Sainz led Toro Rosso team mate Daniil Kvyat home for 14th, as Kevin Magnussen was Renault’s best finisher in 16h ahead of Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor, Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, the other Renault of Jolyon Palmer (who was delayed by a collision at Turn 1 at the start with Felipe Massa), and the second Manor of Rio Haryanto.
Massa, who suffered handling issues with his Williams all race, failed to finish, as did Sauber’s Felipe Nasr with technical trouble.
Hamilton now has 217 points to Rosberg’s 198 with Ricciardo keeping third place with 133 from Raikkonen on 122, Vettel on 120 and Verstappen on 115.
In the constructors’ stakes, Mercedes increase their lead with 415 points as Red Bull overtake Ferrari - 256 to 242. Williams have 96, Force India 80, Toro Rosso 45 and McLaren 42.