Nico Hulkenberg is excited by challenge of Daniel Ricciardo as Renault F1 team-mate

Nico Hulkenberg reckons the presence of Daniel Ricciardo alongside him at Renault presents the toughest challenge of his Formula 1 career.

Hulkenberg has started over 150 Grands Prix but has yet to mount the podium in Formula 1, having spent his career racing for largely midfield teams.

During that period he has been paired with Rubens Barrichello, Paul di Resta, Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez, Jolyon Palmer and Carlos Sainz Jr, leading to questions over Hulkenberg’s ultimate potential.

For 2019 he has seven-time Grand Prix winner Ricciardo on the other side of the challenge, and Hulkenberg says the Australian’s presence acts as motivation for the entire team.

“Possibly yes, it is the first real time that I have a GP winner as a team-mate,” Hulkenberg said on the notion of Ricciardo being his toughest challenge.

“I had Rubens but the comparison is not quite the same. So that is why this is the better test.

“We will see how things go. I want to make sure that I perform at my best level and obviously only I can feel and say okay this was everything that I can get out of it.

“Usually in my career so far when I did that it was enough to beat the other guy.

“This year there is a new guy next to me, so we will just see how it goes. I just want to satisfy myself and the team and pay back the trust that Renault have put in me, and we just want to keep growing together.”

Hulkenberg nonetheless added that he is expecting a smooth partnership with new arrival Ricciardo.

“He is a cool guy, we’ve known each other a long time,” he said. “We are both experienced enough so we know how to cope with things and just get on outside the paddock.

“We’ve known each other for a couple of years and sometimes do stuff, so it is all good.”