Team order confirmed
Ferrari confirmed that they have given the order to Charles Leclerc to stay behind Vettel. While making his debut for Ferrari Charles was closing the gap with Vettel really fast. When he asked on the radio if he could overtake Vettel he was told: to back off and give Vettel some margin.
Ferrari team boss Binotto confirmed that they asked Leclerc to stay behind Vettel. With the data they had, it would be impossible for Leclerc to overtake Max Verstappen. So there wouldn’t be any benefit for the team to risk an overtake. Holding the cars in the same position and bring home the points was the right choice.
Contact during the start
During the start of the race, Leclerc already made contact with the left rear tire on Vettels Car. This happened when he went back on track after a little trip onto the grass. Leclerc should be feeling very lucky that he didn’t puncture Vettel’s tire.
Before the season started
Before the season started the new team boss Binotto had made it clear Vettel would be prioritized early on in the season if the situation required it, as he is Ferrari’s initial title focus. But Binotto said instructing their drivers to hold the position in Melbourne was neither “difficult” nor a “decision” that Ferrari had to make because it did not make sense to let them risk fighting when it was not for the win.