Hamilton, 33, mentioned Verstappen, who crashed in the first phase of qualifying in Bahrain and started out 15th, had "terrific speed" however, younger drivers failed to always get the most suitable decisions.
"From the start I was enjoying the feel of the auto and finding the gaps and it was shaping up to be an exciting race".
"I have no idea what's going to happen in the race", Hamilton told reporters on Saturday.
Max Verstappen did his best to take the world champion out one lap into the race when he chopped across the Mercedes' bow and made contact.
"I had a good run on to the straight and going for the inside under braking I was next to him, going in to the corner I was ahead", Verstappen said.
Verstappen has endured a frustrating start to the 2018 campaign, spinning out of contention at the season-opening Australian GP before crashing out of qualifying in Bahrain - an error that meant he started the race down in 15th.
"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".
"Communication is really hard when you are trying to catch Sebastian, who is 25 seconds ahead, to know exactly what you need to do to not kill your tyres but make it so you catch him at the end. We will come back strong in China, hopefully". As the Finn pulled away, he ran over Francesco Cigarini, who was out of his field of vision, leaving him with a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg. Cigarini was rushed to hospital, where he underwent a successful operation, while Raikkonen retired from the race.
"We definitely seem a lot more competitive than in Melbourne and it looks positive for tomorrow". Sky Sports F1 will show live coverage from Shanghai.
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