Renault F1 Team driver Nico Hulkenberg is conscious that he may need to find “another gear” in order to outperform seven-time Grand Prix winner and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
The German driver had achieved his best championship finishing position of seventh in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, contributing to Renault‘s rise to fourth in the Constructors.
Although he may not be worried of taking the fight to Ricciardo in the same car, he believes he will prove himself more by beating him frequently to boost his own morale.
“Bring it on – we all cook with water, I’m not scared of anyone,” Hulkenberg said to Motorsport.com.
“Probably it will be very challenging and I might have to find another gear, but let’s see what happens.”
Hulkenberg came out of 2018 with the accolade of having out-qualified and outscored teammate Carlos Sainz.
But despite being happy with the job he did there, he says his main focus was more on the overall progress of the Renault team.
“I guess it’s always important – people, outsiders, look at that [team-mate comparison] more,” he added.
“People inside the team, they know more obviously about what’s really going on. But, yeah – it’s good, I’m happy – it’s much more important that the team and the car progression happens.”
The German was asked if he had expected more from his previous team-mate Carlos Sainz.
“I wouldn’t say I expected more – I think he’s a great driver, very competitive, very quick.
“I think he’s been very helpful and good for Renault and for our development as well – he also contributed a lot. And I think we’ve been working really strongly and well together for the team.”