Sebastian Vettel staunchly defended under-pressure Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene as Lewis Hamilton stands on the brink of a fourth Formula One world title at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Arrivabene's future has been called into question after a season that promised so much looks almost certain to result in Hamilton being crowned champion and Mercedes winning the constructors' championship – the latter already sealed in Austin last week.
Vettel gave Arrivabene his backing in a press conference in Mexico City on Thursday, while Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas were among the other drivers who faced the media.
VETTEL IN THE ARRIVABENE FAN CLUB
Vettel's title challenge has fallen away and he will not be able to catch Hamilton if the Brit finishes in the top five at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday.
The German is adamant that Arrivabene should stay on as team principal despite seeing his chances of taking the title slip away.
Asked if he would like Arrivabene to remain in the role, he replied: "Absolutely. What are his strengths? Look at the results. Look at where Ferrari was after 2014, how competitive Ferrari was in 2014 and how – sorry to say – what miserable shape it was.
"The spirit was down so I think he's the key person responsible for bringing most of that back and to make the team grow, to open things up, to change things that have been set like that for 20 years before that, just because they used to be like that.
"I think he has a very innovative and creative way of thinking. So I think he's the right man, he's a very strong leader, I think he's well respected – I know he's well respected by all the people... if you look at a hierarchical way, no matter which level of the company, so absolutely I'm a fan."
VERSTAPPEN: 'NO LACK OF SELF-DISCIPLINE'
Verstappen was left fuming after having third place taken off him in Austin when he was deemed to have exceeded the track limits to gain an advantage when passing Kimi Raikkonen, but the Dutchman believes drivers do not lack self-discipline.
He said: "I think we know quite well what to do and what not to do. But they never told us anything. Already from lap one in practice one, everyone was running wide.
"It was all fine. Then, of course, if it's not mentioned, they never tell us anything, then of course we try to go as quick as we can.
"I think there is a very simple solution. Let's put grass on the inside, or gravel or whatever, that you cannot cut over the kerbs. For example, in Suzuka I don't think we have those issues, do we? So it's quite clear."
BOTTAS: 'LEWIS HAS RAISED HIS GAME'
Bottas has also failed to keep pace with Hamilton and the Finn praised his team-mate for moving to another level since the mid-season break.
He said: "I think he's been really on it all year but especially after the summer break. He's been consistently getting everything out of the car and being able to set it up right for each track, for each condition.
"That comes from experience but also hard work and he definitely deserves all the credit for his results this year."