Sebastian Vettel may have lost the title but he showed his quality with victory in Brazil. Valteri Bottas took second place despite starting on pole, while Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after starting in the pits.
Sebastian Vettel bounced back from his world championship disappointment in fine style on Sunday when he won a sun-drenched Brazilian Grand Prix for Ferrari.
The four-time champion took the lead at the start and controlled an incident-packed race to finish 2.8 seconds ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, who squandered his pole position.
Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, resisted late challenges from newly-crowned four-time champion Lewis Hamilton to hang on to third ahead of the second Mercedes driver, who had started the race from the pit lane.
Dutchman Max Verstappen came home fifth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo and retirement-bound local hero Felipe Massa, a rousing seventh for Williams in his final home city race.
The Brazilian emerged triumphant in his own private scrap to the line with two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda, who finished eighth.
Sergio Perez finished ninth for Force India and Nico Hulkenberg 10th for Renault.
It was Vettel's first win in eight outings since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July and his fifth of the season. It was also Ferrari's first win in Brazil since 2008.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks for us, but it's nice to get both cars on the podium here," said Vettel.
"I had a good getaway and then I had wheelspin, so I thought I missed my chance but I think Valtteri had the same so I surprised him.
"I wanted to pull out a gap and then to control the race from there and it worked out."
Bottas admitted: "My goal was to win so it was very disappointing. We lost it in the start. After that it was very close. I tried to put some pressure on Sebastian, but it didn't happen. Lewis did a great comeback to score points."
mds/ft (afp, dpa)
As it happened:
Lap 71/71 Vettel wins the Brazilian Grand Prix! Bottas takes second, Raikkonenthird, and Hamilton recovers to fourth from the pits.
Lap 69/71 Two laps to go, and still Hamilton can't get close enough to attack Raikkonen. A taxing time for Hamilton.
Lap 67/71 Raikkonenstill keeping Hamilton at bay. The champion is running out of time...
Lap 65/71 Hamilton is 5.1 seconds off the lead now, and 0.9 seconds behind Raikkonen in third. He needs to clear the Ferrari quickly to have a shot at Vettel.
Lap 63/71 Hamilton is closing in on Raikonnen, who stands between Hamilton and a podium finish.
Lap 61/71 Hamilton's lap was one second quicker than Vettel, who is eight seconds ahead with 10 laps to go.
Lap 59/71 Hamilton smashes in a 1.11.932 lap, eight tenths quicker than Raikkonen, who is only 3.6 seconds ahead of him.
Lap 56/71 Raikkonen is now only 2.8 seconds behind Bottas.
Lap 54/71 Grosjean wasn't happy after being told to serve his 10-second penalty – "You must be kidding me".
Lap 51/71 Hamilton is now 14 seconds off the lead, and 4 seconds behind Verstappen's fourth-placed Red Bull.
Lap 48/71 Only five seconds cover the top three at the moment - Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen.
Lap 45/71 Vettel sets a personal best of 1.12.9. He's three seconds ahead of Bottas, and 16 ahead of Hamilton in fifth.
Lap 42/71 Fastest lap for Hamilton - 1.12.012. He's only 16 seconds off the lead now, having emerged from the pits 19 seconds behind Vettel.
Lap 39/71 Hamilton pits from the lead and rejoins - on brand new super-softs - 19 seconds adrift of Vettel and is now 5th.
Lap 36/71 Another fastest lap for Verstappen - 1.12.763.
Lap 32/71 Raikkonen is told "Hamilton is going to be a threat to us"
Lap 29/71 A storming lap of 1.12.996 for Vettel.
Lap 27/71 "The super-soft's looking quite good, huh?" says Hamilton, who sets another faster lap on the softs. He's 17 seconds behind Vettel...
Lap 24/71 Grosjean given a 10-second time penalty for the incident on the first lap that ended Ocon's race.
Lap 22/71 "Important to close that gap now, please. Close the gap," Bottas is told.
Lap 20/71 Raikkonen has fallen more than three seconds behind Bottas now. Verstappen is 1.6 seconds behind the Ferrari.
Lap 17/71 Verstappen: "I'm faster, but I'm stuck" behind Raikkonen
Lap 15/71 Hamilton's 2.8 seconds behind Alonso and will then be behind Massa. He's absolutely flying and will be hunting down the podium places before long.
Lap 13/71 Hamilton now seventh...
Lap 11/71 The incident between Vandoorne, Magnussen and Ricciardo at the start will be investigated after the race, it's just been confirmed.
Lap 10/71 Vettel is edging away at the front. He's 1.9 seconds clear of Bottas.
Lap 8/71 Ricciardo is past Hartley and into 14th.
Lap 7/71 Massa's into fifth ahead of Alonso, pulling more than a second clear.
Lap 6/71 Hamilton passes Stroll into the first corner. He's up to 12th and rising rapidly through the order.
Lap 5/71 Safety car about to make way...
Lap 4/71 Hamilton has already been elevated from 20th to 14th due to the crashes ahead of him. Not bad from the pit lane!
Lap 3/71 Ocon's pulled over on the grass. Vandoorne and Magnussen are also out of the race. Crazy start here.
Lap 2/71 Ricciardo, Ocon and Grosjean are all off the track and and the safety car has to be deployed.
Lap 1/71 It's GO GO GO in Interlagos and Vettel has taken the lead from Bottas on the opening bend!
16:50 - Lights out is almost upon us. A reminder of how the grid looks:
8. Sainz Jr