Adrian Ramos' 74th-minute goal was enough for Jos Luhukay's men to take all three points for the second time at home this season and leave Hamburg in a crisis with just one point from their first three games of the season.
Hamburg's toothless attack rarely threatened a goal with coach Thorsten Fink now under even more pressure.
Hamburg arrived in the capital with the criticism of their biggest financial backer Klaus-Michael Kuhne ringing in their ears.
He claimed Fink was failing to motivate his players, but that did not seem to be an issue early on at least when Artjoms Rudnevs went close to giving them the lead against the Old Lady only for Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft to save with his foot.
Hertha were not able to get their game going the way they had against Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening day of the season, but that was more down to Hamburg's diligent play in defence and midfield.
Route one, bypassing the midfield, was providing more joy for the home side with Sami Allagui and Alexander Baumjohann looking for scraps in a tight first half at the Olympiastadion.
Gaps started to open up a little more in the second half, though, and Ramos went close after an hour when he latched onto Baumjohann's pass, but sent his shot just wide of the post.
Ten minutes later, Ramos had the ball in the back of the net as Hertha finally weaved a way through the Hamburg defence.
Anis Ben-Hatira played the ball into the centre where Nico Schulz skipped past the sliding challenge of Milan Badelj before cutting the ball back for Ramos to convert from close range.
Hamburg hinted at a reaction, but a double save from Kraft to deny Rafael van der Vaart and Tolgay Arslan was the closest they came to finding an equaliser.