Irvine: 'No argument' that Leclerc is better than Verstappen

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Charles Leclerc is clearly better than Max Verstappen at this stage of their careers, former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine has claimed.

While the Dutchman has been seen as the next big thing in Formula 1 for quite some time, the Monegasque's arrival at the Italian team offered a first direct comparison between the two young talents.

But while Max has appeared to stand still at Red Bull, mostly due to the performance of his car, Leclerc has gone from strength-to-strength in 2019.

"There is no argument, Leclerc is much, much better," Irvine told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of last weekend's Japanese GP.

"He has four poles this year [four since the summer break, six in total] and he does not even have the best car in F1... sorry Ferrari.

"This as Verstappen continues to make many stupid mistakes despite having been in F1 for years, many more than Leclerc, while Charles looks to be very focused and someone who doesn't make mistakes."

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It was those comments which perhaps then put a curse on Leclerc's weekend as he was responsible for a collision with Verstappen on the opening lap at Suzuka.

However, while the 22-year-old has had a few controversies, Irvine believes the positives far outweigh the negatives.

"He could have won more than two races and he doesn't have the best car. This tells you a lot," the Irishman continued.

"And then in Monza what he did racing against [Lewis] Hamilton was crazy, maybe not 100 per cent legal but amazing to watch.

"He's very clever, intelligent and very good. Much better than Verstappen for me, there is no discussion."