Vettel came home in seventh position after a long first stint on the medium tyres moved the German up from eleventh to as high as fifth when he pitted for his only stop onto the soft tyres.
Vettel was unhappy when the team asked him to try going to the end on the softest compound due to the Ferrari driver not getting a reply to asking his team the situation earlier in the race, but told the team he would go for it regardless.
Vettel managed nearly forty laps on the softest compound, almost double that of what the cars managed on the original strategy seen by most cars during the race.
He would come home an eventual seventh, while teammate Charles Leclerc retired after his engine cut out during the race at turn fifteen.
"Yeah sure, it's quite simple, we didn't have anything to lose," Vettel said.
"We were P11. I think we were trying to offset until the end of the race. Obviously we were catching the cars in front when they pitted for their second stop but I was not in a rush to catch them and managing the tyres then I was told to push which I did.
"Then I was told to make it to the end or asked to make it to the end and then I said 'well, you could have asked that three laps before,' because I asked what was the target and how long you want to go so I could look after my tyres.
"I said we try to make it. Obviously, the last five laps were difficult and it helped that we got lapped, to be honest so I think we took that risk because he had nothing to lose but it did pay off."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing