Vettel started from second place and held position in the opening laps as Nico Rosberg fought with Kimi Raikkonen over third. Once clear of Raikkonen, Rosberg was running behind Vettel when the four-time world champion ran wide at Turn 1, allowing the Mercedes to catch and pass him on the following lap.
Later in the race Vettel also ran wide at the final corner to allow Rosberg through again having successfully regained position in the pits, and Arrivabene says it was driver errors which left the Malaysian Grand Prix winner fifth while team-mate Raikkonen finished strongly in second place.
“It was not complicated,” Arrivabene said. “We had a clear strategy for the two drivers and then Seb made two little mistakes. The big one was at the beginning so we were obliged to change the strategy for Seb. Kimi, we told to follow our strategy. At a certain point he was not really convinced and we said ‘no, we stay as we are’. And he was brave enough and disciplined enough to follow. It was a good result.
“Regarding Seb, I have to say he made two big mistakes but we don’t have to forget what he has done up to now. He won one race and two podiums so sometimes it happens. We are humans, thank God and that is the beauty of the sport. So we can continue our development and that’s it.
“’I’m happy for Kimi because now I can say officially that - not that I’ve signed a contract - Kimi is back and we have two strong drivers.”
Click here for analysis of the development war between Ferrari and Mercedes