Leclerc led effectively the whole race, after being quickest in qualifying, only for Verstappen to overtake him rather controversially with just a few laps of the race remaining.
Kevin Magnussen wound up in fifth place for Haas, but will take a five-place grid penalty for taking a new gearbox, ahead of British rookie Lando Norris of McLaren, Raikkonen and his Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi.
Asked by Motorsport.com to talk through the differences between the two moves, Verstappen said: "I think the second one I braked a bit deeper into the corner". "But after the pit-stops we were flying".
The ruling brought Verstappen his and Red Bull's first win of the season and in 11 races, ending Mercedes' record run of season-opening victories. One day it will go against us.
"So, we may not be happy at the decision, we are not supporting the decision, but somehow we understand the fact that we need to move forward and, overall, I think that's good for the sport and good for F1".
The race, which was a ideal antidote for the sport after the previous week's dreary procession in France, began in sweltering conditions with an air temperature of 35°C and the track at 58°C, Leclerc making a smooth start from his second pole position to lead into the newly-named Lauda Curve.
How their hearts must have all sunk at the start, as Verstappen's Red Bull stuttered off the line and Max plummeted from the front row to seventh.
"We Weren't Clinical With Bat", Says Virat Kohli After Loss To England
Once he gets to 20, then it's a different ball game. "We took on the spinners and that's the way we want to play our cricket". Despite coming into the tournament as favourites, if England lose today, they will be all but out of the competition.
Hamilton was caught out during a slower lap in Q1 when he said he was unaware of Raikkonen approaching him on a flying lap. Finland's Valtteri Bottas, at 29 the old man on podium, finished third for Mercedes. "Tyres are still good", he told the team after clocking a fastest lap. "Not all the mechanics heard the call and that cost him precious time". The only thing that changed from the first to the second lap was contact. Verstappen snatched the lead, to Leclerc's fury, and went on to clinch victory.
"We were lifting and coasting like 400+ (meters) per lap".
"It was tough racing but Max was slightly ahead of Charles, he got to the apex first, and then it was checkmate".
As a result, Vettel was issued a five-second time penalty, turning what was a 1.342-second victory into a 3.658-second defeat.
With Verstappen now expected to see out his contract with Red Bull, Hamilton ensconced at Mercedes for another year, and Leclerc likewise at Ferrari, speculation surrounding the identity of their teammates for 2020 is bound to fill plenty of column inches over the coming months. One lap later, Verstappen made it stick as he swept inside him and pushed the Ferrari wide before racing to the flag.