Sebastian Vettel says he is very "proud" to have won the Malaysian Grand Prix and take his first victory with Ferrari.

Vettel eventually swept through to take the laurels and beat pole sitter Lewis Hamilton by 8.5 seconds.

It was his first win in more than a year - and takes his tally to 40, just one shy of Ayrton Senna.

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"A phenomenal day - how does it feel? It feels incredible and I am very proud. To see the guys when I was on the podium and to look down, it is an incredible atmosphere. I can only recall from the victories Fernando [Alonso] had with Ferrari and recall especially the victories that Michael [Schumacher] celebrated with the team, I think there were one or two! It is incredible to become part of that team. It is something special and it makes me very happy.

"Last year was tough. It is my first win in more than a year. I definitely missed not just the champagne but the top step in particular. It is great to come back after a tough season, where I think I just didn't get on top of the car and this year the balance of the car seems to suit me. It has come my way and also Kimi's way, more than last year in general. I am very pleased and the strategy today was obviously ace.

"A big thanks to the guys. I think we were a bit surprised, but we saw on Friday that Mercedes weren't too happy on the medium compound. Lewis was struggling in the first stint, so I was able to keep up with him and I enjoyed that a lot.

"Then after that I knew I had to deliver, trying to make those tyres last and trying to go as fast as I can. Second stint he was chasing me down, which was tough, he had a strong second stint and at the end I think I was able to rebalance the car a little more and was able to have a solid gap on the last couple of laps.

"To be honest - and I shouldn't say - but I was shitting myself the last couple of laps because the thoughts were coming into my head. I was looking at the top of the chassis and thinking, 'This is a red car and you are about to win'. Then I thought, okay, stop thinking that, otherwise you will miss the next apex or something.

"It was a great relief when I took the chequered flag and saw the guys from the podium - a really special day. Big thanks to all the mechanics and all the engineers and all the team in Maranello - there is a lot of people there and a lot of potential and power going into the project. I think we did a massive step over the winter and it is there the victory today."

Asked if he can now win a championship with Ferrari, Vettel replied: "I hope so. That is why I signed up. That is our goal and the mission, to bring the World Championship back to Maranello.

"I think today we have to enjoy the day. We know that these guys - Mercedes - are incredibly strong and difficult to beat. But today we did an excellent job and that is what we have to keep doing the whole year. Try to get the best and then we will see where we are. We know that there is a long way ahead of us. But for now I don't care. I want to celebrate and I want to get pissed tonight..."