Marko names Leclerc best non-Red Bull driver, weighs in on Mick Schumacher

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has named Charles Leclerc as the best driver not affiliated with the Austrian drinks giant.

Last year saw the Monegasque start a budding rivalry with Max Verstappen through several epic battles, notably for the win in the closing laps in Austria and for much of the race at Silverstone.

Both times it was the Red Bull driver who ultimately came out on top, but Leclerc did get the upper hand on Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel at different times during 2019.

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So perhaps then it's no surprise that Marko rates him higher than both world champions.

“Leclerc. Clearly Leclerc,” Marko told Motorsport-Total, though it's unlikely the Austrian would be so sure if Verstappen was included.

The Red Bull chief was also asked about the debate surrounding Mick Schumacher after the German had a solid if unspectacular first season in F2 last year, winning just once in Hungary.

While most are happy to give the 20-year-old a second year to prove himself, others are wondering if a touted promotion to F1 for 2021 would be because of talent or his surname?

“I hope because of both factors," Marko replied.

It is notable though that Red Bull has never taken a major interest in adding Schumacher to its young driver program, albeit also because of his father Michael's connections to Ferrari and Mercedes.