Sebastian Vettel's MGU-K failure, and the subsequent VSC period that helped Mercedes win the Russian GP, was "karma" for Ferrari's early-race attempts to deploy team orders, says former world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Ferrari concocted a plan to help Vettel jump Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Sochi race, slipstreaming the pole-sitting Leclerc to jump from third place to first at Turn 2.
Leclerc was soon on team radio, requesting to be let through by Vettel, who said he would not do so unless Leclerc could catch up, with Hamilton lurking behind in P3.
Ferrari eventually took matters into their own hands to a degree, giving Leclerc four laps on fresh tyres to undercut Vettel, who promptly retired with an MGU-K failure.
"I didn't like how Ferrari managed the strategy," Villeneuve told Sky Sport Italia.
"They didn't have to tell Vettel immediately to give the place back and then they spent the rest of the race thinking about how to get Leclerc back out in front and then karma punished them.
"Vettel was faster today and deserved to stay ahead."
Ferrari's strategy was thrown under the spotlight again when Leclerc was called in to the pits during the safety car period, which was triggered when George Russell went off with brake failure during the VSC.
Leclerc gave up track position to Valtteri Bottas in order to fit soft tyres, which bother Mercedes were running on, and could not make it back past the Finn before the chequered flag, but he backed the decision nevertheless.
"We are, and I think everyone on the grid is, struggling to keep these tyres in temperature any time we are behind a safety car," Leclerc said.
"If you are on a medium, already it's a disadvantage, and if it's a bit worn, then it's another disadvantage.
"So we didn't want to take the risk to lose more than one position. I think we did the right choice. Looking back, you can always think about a better scenario – but at that time I think it was the right decision for us."
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