Verstappen had started 15th in his Red Bull, after crashing in Saturday's qualifying, and dived down the inside of Hamilton into the first corner at the start of lap two in an attempt to seize 10th. I was just really grateful that my auto wasn't broken and I could continue.
"I had a coming together with Max and it was an unnecessary collision", he said.
"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".
"If you look at it, I was actually ahead for quite a period of time", Hamilton later told reporters after having gone through replays of the incident.
Lewis Hamilton lamented radio issues with his Mercedes team at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but accepted his third-place finish represented "damage limitation".
"I can't really remember what point of the race it was or why we were in that position, but I don't really care to be honest". He continued to come across and that didn't leave me any room so we ended up touching. But the auto ahead made a decision to dive to the right so I had to bail out and had cars pass me on the left, so I fell back on the opening lap.
"Maybe I need to go and watch the manoeuvre again, but it didn't feel like a respectful manoeuvre".
"Ferrari have shown over the last two races that they have the edge at the moment, but it is close and we definitely have to do a better job".
Verstappen, who retired with a broken differential, insisted Hamilton was to blame.
"I tried to avoid... we were battling, I was on the outside and we were relatively alongside each other, but I did back out, I realised I had to".
"I think there was still enough space on the left but I got a touch on the left rear and it destroyed my diff".
The Italian team, who also have Kimi Raikkonen second on the starting grid, appear to be the ones to beat in Bahrain and Hamilton's hopes could well be pinned on just such an upset. "I'll get to it and if I can overtake, I'll overtake".
When watching the incident back behind the podium Hamilton referred to Verstappen as "a dickhead", and speaking to the media after the race he said he felt the incident was "unnecessary".