Leclerc's achievements can be put into sharper context given he began 2019 trying to overturn a "priority" that Scuderia chief Mattia Binotto had given to Vettel.
Although he is in prime position to join the Mercedes duo at the end-of-season FIA gala, Leclerc says third place will only result in personal satisfaction and not something more seismic within Maranello.
"It's definitely not for the gala, and it's not to take the leadership [at Ferrari]," he said. "Being third in the Formula 1 world championship would be crazy.
"Last year I was fighting for 13th position, and I never imagined I would be fighting for a podium in the world championship this year, so just for a personal achievement, it would be great and I would be extremely happy.
"After the first four or five races, I never imagined I'd find myself in this position at that moment of the year.
"I worked a lot on qualifying at the beginning of the season. I changed a few things, it went quite a lot better from France onwards.
"I'm very satisfied with the season. I had no expectations in terms of results, but I wanted progression. So on that, I'm very happy."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.