After Verstappen forced Hamilton off the track as the Mercedes driver attempted to make a pass earlier in the race, the Red Bull driver was told to give the place back.
Verstappen slowed down during the straight but that appeared to catch Hamilton by surprise and he ran into the back of the Dutchman’s car.
It triggered an explosion of emotions in the pits as tensions spilled over in an action-packed race that saw two red flags at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Hamilton eventually passed Verstappen to claim his third victory in a row, a result that leaves the rivals level on points heading into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.
When asked for his perspective on what happened in the remarkable incident, which was investigated by the race stewards, Hamilton said he was not expecting Verstappen to slow down and was caught by surprise.
“I didn’t understand why he hit the breaks heavily, I ran into the back of him, then he moved on.” Hamilton said. “I didn’t understand, I got a message afterwards, it was confusing.”
Both drivers have been summoned to the stewards and the incident will be investigated further on Sunday night.
Verstappen said he was expecting Hamilton to overtake him around the outside and also admitted surprise that there was contact as he believed he had left the Mercedes space to pass.
He said: “I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn’t want to overtake and we touched. I don’t really understand what happened there.”