Leclerc passed Vettel with the benefit of fresh tyres shortly after the safety-car period necessitated by Valtteri Bottas' retirement, but the German came back immediately with the aid of DRS and repassed Leclerc on the back straight.
However, Vettel clipped wheels with Leclerc as he made his way through, causing a dramatic failure on Leclerc's right-front suspension, and picking up a puncture of his own.
Both immediately had to retire, making the Interlagos race Ferrari's first scoreless outing since the 2017 Singapore GP.
Elkann suggested that teamwork had gone out the window, with Vettel and Leclerc given freedom to fight on-track by team principal Mattia Binotto, who also earned the backing of Elkann over the incident.
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