Championship rival Kimi Raikkonen was second for Lotus, only a second adrift, after a late tyre change left him hunting down the Red Bull in a thrilling final few laps while team mate Romain Grosjean was third.
Alonso, who started eighth on an adventurous tyre strategy, finished fourth. The Spaniard now has 123 points to Vettel's 157 after nine of 19 races. Raikkonen has 116.
In Image: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates jumping on the podium.