With the Briton having been hit with a 5-place grid penalty after a change of gearbox and his Red Bull rival starting 15th after crashing out in Q1, both would inevitably be on a charge in the opening laps.
However, following a strong start, as early as the end of the first lap they were running abreast down the pit straight, sparks filling the sky as they jostled for position.
They remained side-by-side as they headed into the first corner, the Red Bull on the inside and Hamilton on the outside.
They touched, and while Hamilton ran a little wide, doing well not to spin, it was soon clear that his Dutch rival had a puncture.
While Hamilton was able to continue, with no obvious damage, Verstappen eventually pitted for new tyres only to retire shortly after when it was clear he had sustained bodywork damage.
While the Dutch driver laid the blame at his rival's door, claiming that the stewards got it wrong in dismissing the clash as a "racing incident", the Briton was a little more forthright.
"Ultimately, I had a coming together with Max and it was unnecessary," said Hamilton.
"There needs to be a certain respect between drivers,” he added. “Maybe I need to go and watch the manoeuvre again, but it didn’t feel like a respectful move.
"It was a silly move for him because he didn't finish the race and obviously he's tending to make quite a few mistakes recently. It was unnecessary for him to do that."