But the Spaniard's retirement, allied to Vettel's second place finish, means the gap is now down to 24 points with eight races remaining.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks that such a big turnaround was essential at some point to give his outfit a chance of winning a third consecutive drivers' championship.
"I have said on numerous occasions that things during the course of a championship tend to even themselves out," Horner said.
"Fernando has had a phenomenal run of points scoring races and, at some point, that was going to come to an end.
"It was unfortunate for him and it looked really nasty when the Lotus went very close to his head. But all the drivers escaped uninjured; that was the most important thing.
"After that it was clear that they were all okay, so on a day when two championship rivals were not scoring it was important to capitalise on it."
Red Bull returns to Monza next weekend, the scene of one of its most dominant victories last year.
But Horner thinks that its form there 12 months ago matters little this time out.
"I think with the way this season has been, everything from last year does not really count," he said. "So we will go to Monza, and we hope to be competitive there.
"It was one of our best races there, it is a great track, hopefully a different challenge, and we hope to be competitive."