Hamilton began the day hoping for an unprecedented sixth Silverstone triumph, but soon found himself in dire straits.
Vettel dived for the lead with five laps to go, passing Bottas as the pair headed in to Brooklands, and a lap later saw second turn to third, as Hamilton gained yet another place on his mission to get back to the front.
But despite finding himself at the back of the field Hamilton roared back into contention, helped by a safety auto and some bold tactics from Mercedes, and held on to finish second, although he was clearly still furious after the race.
Raikkonen added: "Things happen sometimes".
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel (R) celebrates with his winner's trophy as second-placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton looks on, on the podium after the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 8, 2018.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said after the race that he was "not comfortable at all with the incident because it's tiresome being taken out in the first lap". "I'm not comfortable at all", he said. "Le Castellet (French GP) was the first time we got taken out and this is the second".
Ferrari brushed off the complaints, but the gloves are now off between the two teams.
Vettel says he was advised to wear a neck brace during the race but sought alternative methods.
Raikkonen then locked up, sliding into Hamilton and pitching the Mercedes into a spin.
Overall, though, we are left with the feeling of "what might have been" after one of our cars was taken out for the second time in three races on lap one. "It was really hurting yesterday".
"There is everything still to play for and we will have to be at our very best as a team if we wish to come out on top". "Who is he [Allison] to judge what the drivers are doing in the auto?" the Scuderia boss told Sky Italia.
The pack forced together, both Ferrari drivers pitted for fresh soft tyres to hand track position to Mercedes, with Red Bull also on new rubber to race to the chequered flag.
That dropped the Mercedes man to the back of the pack and Raikkonen was handed a ten second time penalty, served at the first round of pit stops. It's absolutely right that they push for 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 vehicle 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. The team should have opted to pit the Finn under the first safety auto and this would have guaranteed a facile second place.