Sebastian Vettel's Brazilian Grand Prix victory proved just how strong Ferrari's 2017 challenger is, according to Scuderia team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.
Vettel made a fast start to jump polesitter Valtteri Bottas into the lead at Turn 1, a move that proved crucial to the race victory. Ferrari's strategy ensured the German retained his lead during the only pit stop phase, before he maintained his advantage to beat the Mercedes driver to the chequered flag.
In the post-race press conference Vettel admitted the win had come as a "great relief" for Ferrari after the Italian team missed out on a first world championship title in a decade to Mercedes. A nightmare run of results across the Asian flyaway races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan allowed Mercedes to retain its constructors' championship as early as October's U.S. Grand Prix, while Hamilton sealed his fourth drivers' title at the following race in Mexico.
"Already in qualifying, it was clear that the SF70H was quick and well prepared," Arrivabene said. "On Sunday, we got the confirmation that we have a very good car at our disposal.
"The result of this race is also down to the great job carried out by the team, both here at the track and back in Maranello, not forgetting the drivers who, on the day, know how to step up to the mark. Now we look ahead to the next challenge in Abu Dhabi, still determined to give it our all, right to the very end."
The win marked Ferrari's first since July's Hungarian Grand Prix and Vettel believes it was crucial to hit back in response to Mercedes' recent strong form.
"I think this was one of the most difficult races of the season," Vettel added. "Valtteri was always very close and we had the same pace, but I pushed very hard and managed to pull a gap. This win is very important for me and for the team. After such a long time it's been great to achieve it."