There were no tire blowouts but the race had its share of bizarre incidents, with a loose wheel flying through the air in the pit lane and an abandoned car drifting on its own down the track.
Vettel started second behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and powered past the Mercedes driver into the first bend.
The German then held off the Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for his fourth win of the season. Raikkonen was second and Grosjean third. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took fourth.