Italian media have called on Ferrari to make Charles Leclerc the team's lead driver, with Mercedes streaking clear in both championships after three races. Sebastian Vettel has been given "priority" for the 2019 season, which was in clear evidence at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Leclerc jumped Vettel off the line for third place, but could not hunt down the Mercedes ahead, prompting Ferrari to move him aside to let the German have a go.
Vettel made a number of mistakes when in open air and dropped further back from the Silver Arrows, who secured a third one-two finish from as many races, and into the clutches of Verstappen, who finished ahead of Leclerc in fourth.
"If there is a 30 million dollar man and a 2.5 million dollar man, then the hierarchy is already quite clear," pundit Toni Vilander told Finland's MTV.
But Corriere della Sera declared after the race: "It would be better if Ferrari finally understood that they have hired the right driver and it is Charles Leclerc.
"Maranello should take the captain's armband from Vettel and give it to Leclerc."