Pirelli's soft tyre is wearing very rapidly this weekend, whereas the medium barely degrades.
Vettel used the soft to take pole, a choice shared with the Mercedes immediately behind him, while the second Red Bull of Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso used mediums to qualify fifth and eighth.
"We decided to go for what I did, and Mark decided to go for the opposite," said Vettel. "What turns out to be the right strategy we'll find out tomorrow.
"But the race is long and you will have plenty of time to make it up. The strategy should not determine the result that much.
"We have good pace and the car behaves well around here, so we will see what we can do."
A top-five finish in Sunday's race will make Vettel the Formula 1 world champion for a fourth straight year, but he insisted this was not on his mind.
"I am trying not to think about it," he said. "It is difficult when every second person in the paddock asks you the same question.
"We have done very well in the past focusing on every single step, and we see no reason to change things for tomorrow or the next couple of races.
"We have a good position and we have worked hard to be there."