Ferrari believes it is now closer to Mercedes than it has been all season, despite Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominating the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Although Sebastian Vettel was never able to properly challenge Mercedes at the front at Interlagos, the fact he remained so close to them throughout the race – with no safety car to help – has left Ferrari hugely encouraged about its progress.
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said his view was not just wild optimism, and was based on Vettel coming home less than 15 seconds behind.
"It is not an invention if you look at the numbers. It is absolutely like this," Arrivabene said.
"Without a safety car or anything, it was somehow the race where we were closer to them than any other.
"We finished the race only a little behind Mercedes, completing all the laps."
He added: "The pace of the car was not so bad. On certain laps we were near to them, other laps the same time – and on just a few laps even better.
"But unfortunately most of the laps we were a bit far from them, so they constructed an advantage and they deserved a victory.
"Having said so, today's conditions, it is okay. Good is when you win, today was okay."
Arrivabene also reckoned that its form had not been flattered by Mercedes taking it easy to disguise its true potential.
"They were pushing at certain points, very , very hard," he said. "I am quite sure it was a day where they were, apart from the last three or four laps, they were pushing all the time.
"Maybe on other occasions no, but here I am quite sure. Only Mercedes know. But our data, I think that they were pushing."