Hulkenberg would win races 'straight away' at a top team
Carlos Sainz believes his team-mate at Renault for the 2018 Formula 1 season, Nico Hulkenberg, would win Grand Prix races "straight away" if he was ever promoted to one of the elite teams such as Mercedes, Ferrari, or Red Bull, due to his talent behind the wheel.
Hulkenberg earned a 'best of the rest' moniker last season after finishing seventh in the driver's championship behind the six stars in the more powerful cars, but currently holds a F1 record of 156 races started without claiming a podium position.
Sainz, however, reckons that if you give Hulkenberg a better car, he would immediately compete for victories.
“The year that I came to Renault, Nico was having already a very strong year," Sainz said.
“I saw him performing at the highest level I’ve seen I think perform in the midfield for years. For me he’s one of those guys that you give him a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull he’d win races straight away.
“But unfortunately you guys are not able to see it, not able to calculate it, as Formula 1 works like that.
“Nico is one of those guys that I’ve learned a lot from and I’m going to go to McLaren with that experience, having shared a team with one of the most talented drivers in the grid right now.”
The gap between the top three teams and Renault was considerable last year, but Sainz hopes the French manufacturer can hopefully gain some seconds - particularly in qualifying.
“I wish them the best. I know it’s a hard process. I don’t know how much time they want to cut it back, but it’s between one-and-a-half and two seconds in qualifying every time," said the Spaniard.
The pair will be separated in the 2019 campaign, with Daniel Ricciardo taking the place of Sainz, who has jumped ship to McLaren.
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