He beat Vettel and Ferrari into second place at the Chinese Grand Prix, with the German having done the same to the Mercedes driver at the first race of the season in Melbourne.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda went so far as to suggest that Vettel had the speed to seize Ferrari's first pole position since the Singapore Grand Prix in 2015 but Hamilton did just enough in qualifying to secure top spot.
Merc's W06 in the lead.
Hamilton's new team mate Bottas, however, managed to spin behind a safety auto and finished sixth, behind Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and Daniel Ricciardo, who couldn't quite manage to take team mate Verstappen, in fourth.
"The cold helped us here", Hamilton admitted after winning in China.
Speaking alongside Verstappen at the post-race press conference, Hamilton said: "I quite like him up here it makes me look younger while I'm up here, it's good to have a younger person around".
Lance Stroll, the 18-year-old rookie, spun off the track on the first lap after making contact with Force India's Sergio Perez.
If fortune went against Lewis Hamilton a great deal during the 2016 Formula One season as he missed out on the drivers' title, then it appears to be smiling on him in 2017. So when I manage to get ahead it only compliments you, and vice-versa.
But after his second pit-stop on lap 33 of 56, Ricciardo reeled in Verstappen and was able to challenge for third place late on before settling for fourth.
Mercedes duo Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas stayed out along with Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen until two laps later, but all pitted for soft tyres when a real safety vehicle was called and following Antonio Giovinazzi's smash into the pit wall.
Many drivers failed to set a lap time, including Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen. "And we're at our best as a team and I feel like I'm at my best".
He was stuck behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for the opening phase of the grand prix before he made his move on lap 20.
"I really, really hope it's just an out and out fight through stubbornness, through mental stability, through fitness, through composure and all those things".
Lewis Hamilton is expecting some tight tussles with Sebastian Vettel during the season. But the triple world champion is revelling in the new dynamic of his fight with Vettel. "We were matching times so if there wasn't a safety vehicle at the start it would have been much closer." he added. I am very happy to be on the podium. Valtteri Bottas spun while behind the safety vehicle and dropped all the way down to P12.