This time, however, Verstappen's Red Bull did not fail on him, allowing the defending champion to earn his first win and points of the season in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
As in Bahrain, where Verstappen had failed to make his passes stick, Leclerc initially looked to have a tactical edge, braking in front of the DRS line to beat his rival on the straight on one lap before nipping in front when the Dutchman attempted to do the same the following time around.
Eventually, however, Verstappen worked it out, getting ahead and staving off a last-gasp challenge to cross the line first.
Ferrari team principal Binotto was unable to celebrate successive victories following the Bahrain one-two but again had two cars on the podium, with Carlos Sainz in third, and simply enjoyed seeing Leclerc in position to challenge Verstappen.
"Red Bull and Max did a fantastic race. I think Max drove very well," Binotto told Sky Sports.
"It has been a great spectacle to see those two guys battling for the first positions. It has been a great – not good but great – race. I think it's what we're looking for.
"For us to be competitive, to be there, to fight, it was at least our objective to start the season. We can be very pleased. In two races, from 88 points total available, we scored 78, so this can only be a good start to the season.
"I think [Leclerc] drove very well, and he's very smart, and those two guys are very strong.
"He's got a lot of talent and he's proven again that he can fight with Max at the level. They've been fighting since when they were kids, and now they're fighting here at the first position in F1.
"It's very, very good for F1, a fantastic start to the season."