Max Verstappen did his best to take the world champion out one lap into the race when he chopped across the Mercedes' bow and made contact.
To top off the 20-year-old's struggles in the Middle East, Hamilton called him a "d***head" in the drivers lounge after the race, referencing the Red Bull driver's failed attempt to overtake on the first lap.More news: Trump stands in Tweet from embattled EPA Pruitt
"Ultimately, I had a coming together with Max and it was an unnecessary collision", said Hamilton.
Both Hamilton and Verstappen were racing through the field from ninth and 15th respectively, after the Brit received a penalty for a gearbox change and the Dutchman crashed in qualifying.
"Sometimes I feel it's all a bit blown up and artificial if we have these questions, trying to make a story out of nothing". He managed to nurse his Red Bull to the pits for a tyre change, but a short while later, his auto failed and he was forced to retire. I moved when I was young so that I understand the way that it is.
Vettel, 30, now leads Hamilton by 17 points with 19 more races to go.More news: Rory McIlroy right in Masters chase ahead of final round
"We got a bit squeezed but from the middle to the end of the corner I was ahead, I then felt a nudge from behind and could feel the puncture and therefore knew the race was likely over. It is easy to get ahead of yourself and forget to respect the other guys that you are racing against", he said.
The Red Bull driver refuted suggestions that it was a mistake to try overtake Hamilton at that point, saying he needed to start making up ground after his P15 grid position as Red Bull had pace. But the four-time world champion, who saw the video after the race, clearly laid the blame on the Red Bull driver, and his view was shared by former racers and the television experts covering the race. "From my side I gave him enough room".
"From the start I was enjoying the feel of the vehicle and finding the gaps and it was shaping up to be an exciting race". Watch the Chinese GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend.
Hamilton will now meet Mercedes strategists and engineers to discuss the radio technical issues from Bahrain, plus the information he's given over the radio while on the track.More news: Trump would regret abandoning nuclear deal, warns Iran