Hulkenberg braced for 'tough year' alongside Ricciardo
Nico Hulkenberg is keen to avoid comparing himself to new teammate Daniel Ricciardo too often in the 2019 Formula season as he prepares for what he knows will be a "tough year" alongside the former Red Bull driver in a strong-looking Renault line-up.
Signing Ricciardo is a clear statement of intent from Renault as they look to continue their progression made since re-entering F1 as a works team in 2016.
With Red Bull gambling on Honda, any failures could open the door for the like sof Renault to secure big results in 2019 – with Hulkenberg perhaps tantalisingly close to finally ending his wait for a maiden podium in F1.
Asked by GPFans'Rob Watts if he would prefer top-three finish or to outscore Ricciardo across the year, Hulkenberg said: "I think it's just important for me to have a good year.
"You say it like it sounds so easy - 'outperform Daniel' – yeah easy! We'll see how things go. I want to make sure I perform at my best level and only I can feel and say this was everything I can get out of it.
"Usually before in my career when I did that it was enough to beat the other guy. This year's a new guy next to me so we'll see how it goes. I just want to satisfy myself and the team and pay back the trust Renault have put in me. The other things you mentioned they will come or not come. It will depend on 'are we competitive enough, yes or no?' It's not something you can steer directly."
Hulkenberg says Ricciardo will pose him with his toughest internal battle during his career – but he is up for the challenge.
"We've had a good couple of laughs already, I look forward to start working alongside him," Hulkenberg said.
"For sure [it will be] a tough year for me, a tough opponent, tough teammate but I'm looking forward and excited for the challenge.
"He's a cool guy. We've known each other for a long time and we're both experienced enough. We know how to cope with things in and out of the car, but outside the paddock we've known each other for a few years and sometimes do stuff so it's all good."
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