After a blip in form heading into the race, a revamp of his Red Bull into the early hours of Saturday morning led to Vettel capturing his eighth pole in 11 races this season.
The win, however, eluded the reigning champion as he was forced to settle for second behind Jenson Button who poignantly took the flag in his 200th grands prix, and at the scene of his maiden triumph in 2006.
And despite extending his lead in the championship, and with back-to- back titles in his sights, Vettel's thirst for success is as strong as ever.
"I'm not 100% happy because after starting from pole I had the feeling we could have won. Pace-wise it was not impossible," said Vettel.
"It was difficult, especially with the conditions, with the rain making it very, very slippery at some stages, with drivers making small mistakes here and there. I saw Jenson nearly lose it two corners from the end.
"But as I said I'm not 100% happy because the target is to win and not to come second. Still, I know it's good points.
"But with so many races to go (eight), our target has to be to win races, and I can tell you we still feel very hungry - I feel very hungry - to win races. Full stop."
The suggestion from Vettel is he will not be playing the percentage game and simply picking up points to collect the title.
The 24-year-old appears eager to retain his crown in style, although is aware Red Bull are now not as dominant as they were at the start of the season given McLaren and Ferrari's resurgence.
With team-mate Mark Webber 85 points behind, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso 88 and 89 adrift respectively, Vettel has no intention of letting his team rest.
"We saw last year how quickly things can change, so we need to make sure we see the chequered flag," added Vettel, with the next race in Belgium in four weeks' time following the summer break.
"Our pace was not so bad, but it`s fair to say Ferrari in race pace, and McLaren for the last couple of events, seem to have made a good step forward.
"We need to look at why, but then we need to look at ourselves as I think there is plenty of stuff to learn and things we can improve without looking at the others.
"That has to be the target for the next race and for the second half of the season."