Hamelin, from Ste-Julie, Que., was third in two minutes 18.117 seconds. He finished just behind gold medallist Semen Elistratov of Russia and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands.
"It was an eventful race with a lot of overtaking, but I was able to manage things well," said Hamelin. "I would have liked to finish at a higher rank. But it was very close between the top three skaters and I still had a good race so I'll take this result with a smile."
Elistratov and Italy's Arianna Fontana led the men's and women's overall standings after the first day of competition. Elistratov was two points ahead of China's Wu Dajing, who won the 500.
Hamelin won his quarter-final heat in the 500 but fell in the semifinals. He had to settle for an appearance in the B final and a sixth-place finish.
The result left the Canadian in fifth place in the overall standings.
"It's not over," said Hamelin. "It's always the same thing at the world championships, nothing's decided until the last race. So I'll do everything in my power to get the maximum amount of points in the 1,000, and then use the 3,000 to take a shot at the world title."
Fontana held a 15-point lead in the women's standings after winning the 1,500 metres. Kim Boutin of Montreal was seventh in the race and Marianne St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., was ninth.
Fontana was third in the 500, a race won by China's Fan Kexin, who moved to second in the overall standings. St-Gelais was sixth in the 500 and ninth in the overall standings.
It was a disappointing showing for the Canadian veteran, who has won eight individual World Cup medals this season.
"It wasn't a very good day," St-Gelais said. "The results weren't up to par with what I've done this year. But there are still positives to take away from this."
The championships wrap Sunday with the 1,000, 3,000 and men's and women's relays.
With files from The Canadian Press.