Ferrari’s first victory in two years could be the catalyst for a championship challenge, with technical chief James Allison hoping “we can push on from here”.
Sebastian Vettel beat the Mercedes in a straight fight at Sepang, and executed a perfect two-stop strategy after not pitting under the early safety car.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene says that hard work was the key to Vettel's success.
"I'm very happy to win so early," said Arrivabene. "We have worked so hard in Maranello, I don't believe in a one-man show, we are a team, we are super happy.
"I promised two race [wins] and now we've made one. Is it an advantage to win so early? Sometimes it's a disadvantage – but I'm just so happy for our guys."
Allison says Vettel "drove perfectly"
Vettel's win was also technical director James Allison's first victory for the Scuderia after his move from Lotus.
"A day like this is just extraordinary," said Allison. "To get the car back up at the front, I know the guys at Maranello who've worked so hard will be jumping up and down in their living rooms. It's a wonderful, wonderful day for us.
"I'm incredibly proud of this team, and we have the whole expectation of Italy to deal with too, and we've delivered here today.
"So much work has gone into this, and now the result has come. I hope we can push on from here and be more competitive.
"What you want from a driver is to be fast, and from what we've got from him and Kimi is that. When they complain, you know it's the car's fault.
"Sebastian drove perfectly today, and he made that car dance in the wet in qualifying. He gave us the chance to do what we did today."