Bottas eventually went on to finish fourth after his teammate Lewis Hamilton and the sister Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was able to overtake him as his tyres dropped off in performance, a disappointing way to finish the tripleheader having been set for a championship revival with the points he could have earned. The latest race resulted to a 20-point lead by Ferrari against Mercedes in the Constructor Standings as well.
That was no comfort to Hamilton, who quickly worked his way back through the back-runners as he posted the fastest lap times.
The version of events offered by Niki Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, was even pithier, as he labelled the crash "unfair" and "not funny". So, did Raikkonen really do it on objective?
As part of its quest to deliver a strong all-round contender at Silverstone, Ferrari also made a decision to run its spoon-shaped rear wing, trading some downforce for drag reduction.
In a final flurry, Hamilton passed Bottas for second and Raikkonen beat his compatriot to the final podium place. Is this just another sign that the sport's once-dominant team are cracking under the pressure?
With Hamilton left with everything to do, it was Vettel that took the early march on the Mercedes of Valterri Bottas.
Oliver Brown of The Daily ' writes: "Whatever Ferrari's true motive was, the ferocious fighting under turquoise Silverstone skies propelled Hamilton's contest with Vettel into the next dimension".
Hamilton, 33, said on his Instagram account: "Thank you for loving me for being with all my flaws". The British GP marks the second time that the reds collided with a Silver Arrows race vehicle.
But Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene offered a scathing assessment of the Mercedes reaction. "It was tragic", Verstappen told Dutch television. It's different when you're in the lead and can control the pace.
The drivers rode low to the ground turning the pedals in front of them and their vehicles were dressed-up homestyle - some as vintage cars, one decked out in flowers and others like Formula 1 speed machines.
Lewis Hamilton driving around the Silverstone circuit in practice ahead of the 2018 British Grand Prix.
Hamilton added: "We're in a tough battle this year". "Our position is that we are happy to take on a manageable risk, but not an unreasonable one". Ferrari countered in Silverstone with a new floor and rear wing and ran Mercedes much closer in qualifying than anyone expected.
A bumper crowd of 140,000 attended the race on Sunday, with the tally for the entire weekend coming in at 340,000.
Ferrari enjoyed an extremely successful British Grand Prix.
It took five laps for the Ferrari to overwhelm the Mercedes, diving down the inside at turn six and seizing the place.