China and Singapore, with a spectacular night race, have followed.
Despite Vettel's effort, Lewis Hamilton extends his lead to 34 points in the World Drivers' Championship.
I don't think Vettel will necessarily be any more aggressive than he usually is this weekend, but he really needs a trouble free weekend from the team so that he doesn't lose any more ground in the championship. He drove a superb race to victory, starting fifth after struggling in qualifying, and now firmly clutches a stranglehold on the title.
With just five races left, that come in Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Hamilton tops the standings on 281 points, with Vettel second on 247. What we do not yet know is whether it is a decisive blow. The only thing that can be agreed upon, is that it ruined what should have been a tense and thrilling battle.
Motorsport.com reports that officials declared Shepard the race victor in the provisional results, but that they later made a decision to call the race after five laps because the final few were so odd. "That was a freakish one, for sure", said Vettel. If they have to think about when the title is lost they'll think about Singapore and Malaysia.
He finished a remarkable fourth in Malaysia after having started last due to a power unit problem in qualifying, but dropped further behind the Briton who finished second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
It was only two years ago at this very same venue that Verstappen raced with the panache of a veteran to become the youngest Grand Prix driver ever to score World Championship points with an impressive seventh place.
Sebastian Vettel, however, not only managed to finish fourth but also set the fastest lap ever at the circuit. He will therefore be hoping for better luck this weekend.
The final Petronas Malaysia Formula 1 Grand Prix race went out with the kind of bang it deserved.
Malaysia gave Formula One a rousing send-off on Sunday with the country's last Grand Prix drawing its largest turnout in four years.
Malaysia also made the sport accessible to other countries in the region as one of the most affordable races to attend, and has been a favorite of worldwide spectators. It is the most hard circuit. It is a punishing race.
They've had a lot of reliability issues across the season, and with Verstappen in particular, you look at races like Baku, Canada and Spa - those are the first few that come to mind, but there have been so many races - where he's been strong, he's been competitive and reliability issues have cost him. Sepang is characterised with its sweeping corners and long straights, and the Silver Arrows should be well-suited to this track. It's great to see them performing so well and we want them to be closer.
The biggest unknown is the weather.
It was clear something had careered into the back of the German, though Stroll's Williams vehicle appeared to be completely unscathed as he passed by. Then on lap 4 Verstappen dove past the struggling Mercedes for the lead, Lewis tried to fight back but it was just a matter of time.
Vettel's display in nearly becoming the first driver in history to achieve a podium finish from the back of the grid, showed the superior speed of the Ferrari, and Hamilton knows it.