The three-time world champion Mercedes driver has 281 points while Vettel, who fought from the back of the grid to finish a strong fourth, has 247 points with five races left.
"But our race speed was comparable, because in the end Sebastian was on supersoft tyres, and you saw that, when he was catching Ricciardo, he went too close and he ruined his front tyres, so that's why he had to stop his attack".
This was the last race to be held in Malaysia after the country pulled out of the sport from 2018 and, after an entertaining grand prix, the circuit has certainly finished on a high.
It was significant because Max Verstappen took his second win for Red Bull on his 20th birthday weekend, winning the power war against Mercedes and leaving Lewis Hamilton a slightly out of touch second.
The Dutchman went on to win the grand prix by 13 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Max Verstappen came back with a bang at Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday, passing Lewis Hamilton to win the race.
Vettel started at the back of the grid after engine problems ruined his Saturday qualifying and recovered to fourth. "They (Red Bull) just had the upper hand on us today".
"It was a much better weekend than we had anticipated after our Friday, considering the issues we did have with the auto this is a good result".
"I hope not. I think we have it under control", he said when asked if reliability could be an issue.
"At the end of the day Max had more pace than me and even if he did not pass me then he would have later on".
The most important takeaway from all this is that Hamilton is now up 35 points in the championship race. On top of this, Vettel and Williams driver Lance Stroll collided on the slow-down lap after the race causing a great deal of damage to Vettel's auto. It was the best I could really do.
Hamilton leads the championship by 34 points over Sebastian Vettel with five races remaining. Valtteri Bottas could only manage to finish in fifth place. I'm sure we could have had a very good race but where we would have finished, who knows?
"You can see we were running slightly less downforce than the others, we don't have the T-wing here for example, and we have found a very good set-up".