Vettel, who is usually ruthless when starting from the top of the grid, finished third after falling prey to Kimi Raikkonen's two-stop strategy.
"I think you're always a little disappointed when you start first and don't finish first, but overall it was a good weekend for us," he said later.
However, tyre management was one area where the German said he would have to improve going into the second race in Sepang next Sunday.
"We had a good day with a pole and a podium - but in the race we were a little too aggressive with the tyres and lost the front and the rears, while others did a little better.
"There are always areas where you can improve, but the result we got today is fair. We didn't see Kimi on the track, he was too quick and Fernando jumped us at a vulnerable time - but we can be happy with third."
The race was slightly more disappointing for teammate Mark Webber who failed to finish on the podium in his home Grand Prix yet again.
"We had a few issues on the grid, getting the telemetry from the car to the pits, which wasn't ideal in terms of the guys knowing where to set everything up for the start," bemoaned the Aussie.
"We lost KERS also for the first part of the race. It looked like we were quite heavy on the first set of tyres and we weren't that quick to challenge for the win as a team today.
"We had a slow pit stop (which was due to a front jack failure), which put me behind Jenson. We salvaged something in the end, but that was Melbourne today [Sunday] and it was disappointing not to get more out of it. It was hard to fight against others on a two-stop."