However, not dissimilarly to 2017, Vettel and Ferrari's championship challenges quickly fell apart after the European season had come to a close, finishing 88 and 84 points behind, respectively.
This came as a surprise, especially as the German looked as though he was the more likely to claim his fifth world title in '18.
Seb may have fallen short in the end but he did have some standout drives that are worthy of a multiple world champion, these listed being 5 of the best that could've won him the driver's world championship.
#1 Taking his Chance Down Under
Sebastian Vettel had won the opening round in 2017, but 2018 didn't get off to the best start, with Lewis Hamilton starting from pole and Kimi Raikkonen also on the front row of the grid.
The top 3 remained the same, that was until both Hamilton and Raikkonen pit for fresh tyres. Vettel stayed out and now led the race in the hope that there would be a Safety Car, and that's exactly what happened when the Haas mechanics forgot how to attach a wheel.
Seb pitted and re-emerged in first place, with a seething Mercedes behind him. Albert Park is notoriously difficult to overtake around (just ask Max Verstappen) and from there, it was a relatively simple Sunday drive for the Ferrari man.
With fresh rubber and a faster car underneath him, Vettel strolled to the line a full 5 seconds ahead of Hamilton for his third win in Australia. Lucky? Yes, but you've got to take your chances when they're given to you, something Ferrari and Vettel would fail to do in much of the second half of the season.
#2 No Tyres, No Problem
With Lewis Hamilton starting in ninth following a gearbox penalty, Sebastian Vettel must've thought that he had a great chance of making it two wins in a row to start 2018.
Indeed, the Ferrari man qualified on pole and got the perfect start to maintain his advantage. Vettel kept Valtteri Bottas at arm's length for the first stint and despite Hamilton's best efforts, the German had a solid lead.
Bottas pitted again on Lap 38 of 57 and everybody was wondering when the leader would make his second stop. However, as the laps ticked by, it was becoming more and more apparent that Vettel wouldn't pit again, that he would instead go to the end of the race on his current set of tyres.
The strategy worked to perfection, Bottas caught Vettel towards the end, but couldn't challenge before the checkered flag. Credit must also go to Vettel, his driving on tyres that had been almost worn down to the carcass was extremely impressive and reminiscent of the driving prowess he showed during his Red Bull days.
#3 Comfortable in Canada
Canada was the site of Lewis Hamilton's first F1 win in 2007, and the British legend has won another five times since then. Hamilton was looking to match Michael Schumacher's record of seven victories in Montreal and extend his lead in the driver's championship.
Hamilton wasn't on form in Canada, though, qualifying fourth, two tenths behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel. Like Bahrain, Vettel would keep Bottas behind with a comfortable gap, but instead of Hamilton charging through the pack, he instead fell back.
Daniel Ricciardo passed the reigning world champion in the pit-stop phase and Kimi Raikkonen almost did the same, as Lewis conceded 15 points - and the championship lead - to Vettel.
Realistically, nobody saw this coming, Hamilton's record in Canada is extraordinary, either retiring or winning all but 1 of the 9 races he had previously contested at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
#4 Leading his home Race
The return to Europe had so far been largely positive for Sebastian Vettel, winning at Silverstone and gaining 15 points on Lewis Hamilton in Austria. When Hamilton only qualified in 14th thanks to issues in Q2, Vettel had a golden opportunity to extend his lead in the driver's standings.
Seb started from pole and held his P1 around the first lap, despite the advances of Valtteri Bottas. The battle at the front was a close one, but you always had the feeling that Vettel had this under wraps, few can control a Grand Prix as easily as he can.
The threat of rain loomed large, though, and drops began to fall on Lap 44 of 67. Some - such as Max Verstappen - pitted for wet weather tyres, but those that did had jumped the gun as only a small section of the circuit was wet enough for them.
Vettel had never won at the Hockenheimring but had won on home soil at the Nurburgring back in 2013, however, he was desperate to win this one. That perhaps showed as well, as, in increasingly wet and slippery conditions, he broke too late into the stadium section's hairpin and skated off the road.
To compound his misery, his Ferrari was beached in the gravel trap and Hamilton would go on to win the race. A rookie error from a four-time world champion, who would've predicted that?
#5 Dominant Victory in Belgium
Ferrari came out of the summer break with what was clearly the fastest car on the grid, Mercedes had no answer to their red hot pace during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix. Qualifying threw a spanner in the works, though, raining for the first and only time that weekend and enabling Lewis Hamilton to claim pole.
Sebastian Vettel would come out on top in the four-way battle up Kemmel for the lead and Hamilton wouldn't get close enough to challenge for the remainder of the Grand Prix.
Ferrari had the best car on the grid, that was clear, and you could sense in his interviews that Hamilton was seriously afraid of losing his points advantage further during the fly-aways at the end of the year.
However, as we all know, that didn't happen, Italy began a run of 6 wins in the following eight races to complete what ended up being Hamilton's best season in Formula 1.
Had Vettel and Ferrari limited their mistakes, they could've at least kept the battle for the championships going to the final round. If you want to read more about how Hamilton won the 2018 title, check out this other article.
Did you ever think that Vettel was going to win the 2018 title? At which point did it look most likely? Let us know in the comments below!