Team boss Mattia Binotto has made it clear since testing that Vettel would have priority in any "50/50 situation", as the team feels his experience as a four-time world champion means that the German is the most realistic title contender.
In the third race of the season in China, Leclerc was told to let Vettel by for third place, and as the race unfolded the Ferrari newcomer ultimately fell back to fifth.
“I think it’s an open game at the moment,” said Berger. “As much as I like Sebastian, and as much as I rate him, here’s a boy who is capable to win the world championship. I don’t think it’s enough to say, ‘This one is experienced, this one is not experienced, so we take the card of experience.’ I think they got it wrong.
“Saying this, you always have to discuss this point in a different way – it depends where you are in the season. Last year, when we were in Monza, when [Maurizio] Arrivabene said we let everything run open, when the championship was already going into the final stage, it was clear that if somebody has a chance it’s not [Kimi] Raikkonen, it’s Sebastian.
“So there I would react the other way. It’s a question of when it is, and is it really giving somebody not even a chance to win the championship? And if you do it in the first or second second race, I don’t agree.”
Gerhard Berger, Ferrari