McLaren driver Button believes Red Bull was unwise to ask Mark Webber and Vettel to hold station as early as round two of the 2013 Formula 1 season.
But the 2009 world champion admitted Vettel's assertion that he would "probably do the same again" if he felt Webber did not deserve the win had showed an unexpected side of Vettel's character.
"Lots of people have won world championships without being like that," said Button.
"I'm surprised he said that, personally.
"He's such a talented driver and he seems like a driver that the team love. And they should, he's very successful.
"And he seems like an easygoing character. It's surprising for him to say that."
Button reckons that if Red Bull had been clear about its intentions pre-race, Vettel had no grounds for complaint.
"Obviously he's done it once. He knew what he was doing," said Button.
"We all want to win, but if you're told to hold station and you know that's the rule before the race, kick off about it before the race.
"Don't just do the opposite in the race. I think that's the biggest issue.
"If we had that issue here, first of all I wouldn't have agreed before we went racing. In the race, you have to do as you're supposed to do."
TOO SOON FOR TEAM ORDERS
He underlined that he did not approve of team orders and felt they had been unnecessary in Malaysia, but that Vettel should still have complied if Webber was cruising.
"I do not like team orders and I've said that before," Button said. "But they're legal and we're allowed to have team orders.
"I would understand if I couldn't win the championship anymore and the team said to me 'if you're leading this race and your team-mate's second and he can win the championship, let him go past'.
"I wouldn't even need to be told that, I'd do it myself. It's the right thing to do.
"I think when one or both drivers are told to turn the engine down, it's for a reason - to save the engine or because they have a fuel strategy.
"If one guy does it and the other guy doesn't, it's unfair, they're going to push each other, and they might both run out of fuel.
"That's the way the system is at the moment with fuel and tyre saving.
"There's definitely the possibility of making a mistake [with an instruction], and if that was the case with Sebastian, it's fair enough. Maybe that was the case.
"But it just doesn't sound that way from what he was saying afterwards."
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Mark Webber