After the lacklustre opener in Australia, Bahrain delivered in both tension and drama from the very start. Instead, the two Finns were left to battle amongst themselves for second place in the early running, with the Mercedes man coming out on top.
It looked as though it could get even worse for Hamilton, pictured, after Max Verstappen's less than ideal start to the season took another troubled turn following a collision with Hamilton on lap two. Hamilton, out of position on the grid following an unscheduled gearbox change, failed to make any ground on the opening lap before losing a place to Fernando Alonso.
The racing continued to flow, with Hamilton in the thick of it.
Magnussen was quickly passed for P5, which turned to P4 once Gasly was dealt with. Hamilton, meanwhile, had inherited the lead.
Vettel led right from the start.
Lewis Hamilton joined them on the podium recovered from a grid penalty to join the pair on the podium.
Amidst the turmoil, Ferrari had been forced to switch Vettel to a one stop strategy - even if that meant a risky 30-lap stint on the soft compound.
A massive cheer went up in the grandstands when Vettel used his fresher tyres to catch and blast past Hamilton for the lead on lap 26.
But Hamilton produced one of the moves of the race as he looked to move up the field. Hamilton finally stopped a lap later, swapping his soft tyres for mediums. The Frenchman was lapping with a damaged auto and held up the faster Haas before pitting himself.
"We had nothing to lose making an attempt to remain out and making an attempt to win", Vettel added of his future on deteriorating tires.
The incident during Raikkonen's second stop of the race saw the green light above his vehicle illuminate, indicating the auto was free to go, but the left-rear tyre had yet to be changed, meaning the mechanic was in the way when the auto got underway.More news: Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash: Full Story & Must-See Details
Raikkonen's left tyre was still being attended to when he slammed on the power and he drove straight into the leg of the mechanic who was badly hurt.
As he headed back out the mechanic on the left rear wheel, subsequently named as Francesco, was knocked over suffering a shinbone and fibula fracture.
It was the result of an astonishing error of judgment from the Ferrari team, which had also been fined 5,000 euros (, 140) for an unsafe pit release during practice on Friday.
"The last five laps were really hard", Vettel said.
Hamilton was heard calling Verstappen "a dickhead" in the F1 drivers' room before the podium ceremony, prompting questions about it in the post-race press conference.
Behind him and Gasly, Magnussen took fifth ahead of Hulkenberg and Alonso, who spared McLaren's blushes with a superb drive after a awful performance in qualifying, trounced by the Toro Rosso using the Honda engine McLaren rejected as not good enough a year ago.
Not since 1982 has a driver who won the first two F1 races earned the world championship.
"I came on the radio with 10 laps to go and said I had everything under control - that was a lie, there was nothing under control", joked Vettel, who said he feared a Mercedes change in strategy had outfoxed Ferrari.
"I tried to keep it as clean as possible".
"Then we diverted and I tried to nurse the tyres as much as I could".
After a somewhat fortuitous fifth place finish in Melbourne, following some key retirements, Alonso proclaimed, "now we can fight" on the team radio. 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. It worked but only just.