Much of the talk ahead of the race was centred on the respective upgrades brought in by the two leading constructors, but it was the driving and strategy that will provide the lasting impression.
Stoffel Vandoorne then crashed into Felipe Massa at turn one.
Both Vettel and Hamilton managed to pass Bottas before fate intervened and a virtual safety vehicle was deployed following an incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa. The virtual safety vehicle was deployed and Hamilton essentially got a free pit stop.
Hamilton described Vettel's tactics as "dangerous", and the pair, albeit light-heartedly, later disagreed on whether they afforded one other enough room.
"I didn't want him to win today; I wanted to win", he said. Bottas clipped the rear of Raikkonen and the chain reaction meant that Verstappen was collected in the incident, as well.
Hamilton was not about to give up, however, and after gaining once more on the Ferrari he seized his opportunity on the 44th lap.
Mauricio Pochettino: Title very hard, but not out of reach
Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham blew their big chance to keep the title race alive after the 1-0 defeat at West Ham. They could have narrowed the gap on the Blues to just one point by beating West Ham , but produced a below-par performance.
"I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by".
"I was trying to do everything I could and I knew I didn't have the pace at that point", he said.
Would Hamilton be able to make his tyres last?
One of the main issues that Hamilton and his Mercedes team have been trying to work out since the start of the 2017 Formula One season is the weight of its W08 challenger as they have been struggling to get near the 728kg weight limit for auto and driver.
Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were fourth and fifth, while Renault's Nico Huelkenberg, Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat and Haas' Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.
"I love tennis, I love watching (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic in a final, and what I really admire is the consistency", Hamilton said afterwards. "That is as close as it could be".
Colorado towns hit with 3 feet of snow. Happy May
The winter storm warning is in effect until 3 p.m. on Friday for Denver and the urban corridor and 6 p.m. for the high country. Around 14 to 16 inches of snow has fallen in southeastern Wyoming from near Cheyenne to west of Laramie since Wednesday night.
It was probably the slowest auto on the track, but Wehrlein stopped for just one tyre change, rather than the two or three-change strategy of the other teams, and his bright blue vehicle crossed the line in seventh place.
Reflecting on his wheel-to-wheel battle with Vettel, Hamilton added: "In the heat of the moment it is hard to know from the outside view what it is like". "Outside the track we are not best friends, I have known him for a long time but I don't have a problem with him".
It was a close-run fight between Vettel and Hamilton, but the Ferrari man won this particular battle, if not the race itself. "I don't have a drink in the auto [to save weight], so yeah I was feeling it, and that's how racing should be". "You know, it's been a really good weekend and to be able to bounce back from Russian Federation is, was a great thing".
"He came out of the pits and I was a bit surprised that it was so close".
"I was inside for Turn One, Kimi came from outside and tried to overtake from there", said the Mercedes driver.
"I think our tyre choice was the right one, obviously Lewis sits behind, he has nothing to lose, there's no threat from behind so he might as well try to mirror the strategy from the first stop onwards". Well done to him.
Roger Ailes, former Fox News chief, dies at 77
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is adding his voice to those mourning Fox News Channel founder Roger Ailes . Our thoughts and prayers now turn to him, his Wife Beth, his son Zachary , his brother and his family.