Hamilton chased Vettel all the way to the end but was ultimately hampered by a mistake earlier in the race.
"More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn't just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this world championship until the last".
"We don't like that at all", Wolff said when asked about a change to the rules of engagement. As I said, losing points for the team, particularly when you could have potentially won the race is painful, but it is what it is. We made the call. "I had a good feeling yesterday and after a couple of laps (today) I thought everything was making sense". The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo also showcased good pace in the starting laps.
Mercedes had not responded to Ferrari pitting Sebastian Vettel early from second place, but was moved to call in both its drivers under the safety vehicle.
Yet to podium in 2017 after a fourth place in China and failing to finish in Melbourne, Ricciardo couldn't help but feel disappointed at the outcome. As a team we didn't achieve that, Ferrari did a better job, so I'm leaving here with a bit of a odd feeling, because I don't know why the pace was so poor. Lewis had the chance to maybe get some extra points for the team but it is tough.
Hamilton had missed out on a seventh successive pole on Saturday, with Bottas beating him to it.
But moments later, the Dutchman's brakes failed and he drifted across the track and into the wall, his race over. The incidents were coming fast, with 18 -year-old Lance Stroll hit from the side on lap 13 by Carlos Sainz Jr., forcing the safety auto to come out.
The safety auto came out, after which the two Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tires.
"I tried to control the gap - he was very fast when he came out, I expected him to be quicker but not that quick", added Vettel.
"It made it twice as hard as it was going to be", Hamilton said.
"It was a unusual race for me missing so much pace - it's not so easy for me to explain".
But, regardless of how much he learns in Alabama, nothing will prepare him for what he'll get at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's mighty superspeedway, even if he has raced on its road course (best result: second to McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2007).
Vettel started third on the grid, but on the first lap itself on turn one managed to squeeze past Lewis Hamilton and eventually managed to jump pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas in the first round of pit stops after a safety vehicle period.
While Hamilton, and Mercedes, were working on 2017, Vettel was already testing the 2018 tyres on Tuesday before returning to the present rubber on Wednesday.