"I thought "OK, I have to go for it", because I was obviously also struggling... the longer I spent behind him, struggling with my tyres as they got hotter, and losing that advantage that I had a little bit".
Vettel had been suffering with neck pains on Saturday and was at one point a doubt for taking part in the session.
"It was interesting tactics, I'll say, on their side, so we'll do everything we can to fight them in the next race". It's the most intense battle I think we've probably all had.
However, Hamilton subsequently said he was "dumb" to imply Raikkonen might have deliberately collided with him.
"This is the greatest race of the year and the greatest crowd", he said.
Despite managing to produce a damage limitation-drive that softened the blow of Vettel's win, Hamilton cut an irritated figure after the race, avoiding media duties and conversation with the Ferrari drivers before they went out to the podium.
The conclusion of Hamilton's next contract is set to coincide with the end of Sebastian Vettel's current deal at Ferrari.
Vettel pitted but Mercedes kept Hamilton out, assuring him he was "the fastest guy by miles" with everything to play for on tyres that would last the distance. I was really trying everything I could to defend, but it was really a matter of time.
Vettel finished 2.264 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
The top six, now on the durable medium-compound tyre, settled into a rhythm, with Vettel leading Bottas ahead of Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Raikkonen, but a lap-32 safety auto turned the grand prix on its head after Sauber's Marcus Ericsson had left his drag reduction system open as he entered turn one, crashing heavily into the barriers. "And in a flawless world, I would have had new tires - but it wasn't that kind of day for me", Hamilton said.
Bottas would assume the lead from Vettel, with Hamilton now third.
And now, Rosberg, who won the World Championship in 2016 and had an intense rivalry with Hamilton during their time together at Mercedes, has also defended Raikkonen.
The race was neutralised again moments later for an accident at Copse between Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean, when Sainz attacked on the outside but Grosjean suffered a wobble at the apex.
A late collision between Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen left the Dutchman limping toward the finish but the former was able to hold on to fifth.
Football might be coming home, but the F1 title might not.
"Everybody brings updates to every race and there is never a silver bullet that provides you three tenths or four tenths, which was the difference between us and Ferrari a year ago. I will continue to give it everything and I'm sure that one day it will work out".