Nico Hulkenberg is “very happy” to have Daniel Ricciardo as his team-mate, according to Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski. Hulkenberg, 31, has been Renault’s top driver in each of his two seasons with the team, finishing ahead of Jolyon Palmer in 2017 and Carlos Sainz Jr last year.
The German will face a huge battle to finish ahead of Ricciardo next season as the Australian is a four-time race winner, which includes two victories in 2018, with former team Red Bull.
Budkowski says Hulkenberg is up for the challenge of taking on the Australian and he feels the duo can form a formidable partnership. “I don’t think Nico was resting on any laurels,” Budkowski told Autosport. “Carlos was a good push for him last year and we were very happy with the interaction of the two drivers. “For Nico now having Daniel coming with his reputation as a very quick driver, as a very quick racer and overtaker, and proven himself as a race winner, he sees it as an opportunity to prove himself.”
Related: Ricciardo Key To Renault Revival
He added: “We’re going to have an interesting interaction there between two drivers who have never been competing against each other in the same team, who are both highly rated. “But I don’t expect that to be a problematic relationship at all. Quite the opposite.”