Ferrari had looked set for another bitter disappointment on Saturday when Vettel's engine hit trouble ahead of qualifying, before teammate Charles Leclerc was ruled out of the fight for pole position with a different reliability problem. But Vettel was one of the star performers in Sunday's crazy race and fought back to the podium.
The four-time world champion has struggled for form over the past 12 months, stretching back to an infamous crash out of the lead at last year's German Grand Prix, and he was in a bullish mood on Sunday evening.
"After the disappointing day [in qualifying], where everything was ready -- the crowd was ready; I was ready, the team was ready -- obviously we didn't have qualifying, so starting last I was very excited about the race in these conditions, anything can happen," Vettel said. "The race turned out a lot crazier than I thought beforehand but yeah, I'm very happy.
"I'm very happy for the team first of all. It's a tough period for us. We are pushing very hard -- we are doing mistakes, we are not where we want to be, but we need to keep believing in ourselves, in our abilities, our strengths, and I'm confident that our days will come."
Vettel said it would be wrong for Ferrari to ignore the negatives of 2019 because of one good race but is hopeful his Hockenheim display can be the start of better things.
"It's certainly a tough time for us at Ferrari with days like [Saturday] because it shows that we have things that we need to sort out -- we have things that we need to do better but I think in this period it's very important that we keep the morale, we keep supporting the team.
"From the inside that is happening, from the outside I hope it's happening as well. I know the tifosi are behind us but sometimes the headlines can shift in either way, so it's important that we keep the support because I think things are moving -- we are pushing very very hard and when it comes to passion I think we put a lot of effort and a lot of hours in; the people are very determined.
"I'm as impatient as everyone else to get the results finally but it will take a little while. We know what we can improve and that's what we are working on; but in the meantime I hope that people are a bit patient and give us that freedom in that time.
"But yeah, in that regard it feels like a small victory today."