Renault: Hulkenberg out to prove himself against Ricciardo

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Renault F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski says that Nico Hulkenberg is treating Daniel Ricciardo's presence in the French team this year as an opportunity "to prove himself".

Hulkenberg has always been perceived as a solid and reliable performer in F1.

But after eight seasons and 156 Grands Prix, the German still carries the weight of an unenviable record: he is the driver with the most races without a podium finish.

The 31-year-old, who started his career with Williams in 2010, joined Renault in 2017, where he has had the upper hand over his successive team mates, Jolyon Palmer and Carlos Sainz.

However, with Ricciardo, Hulkenberg will be up against a multiple race winner, but Budkowski says the incumbent has no inhibitions about racing against Renault's new recruit.

"Carlos was a good push for him last year and we were very happy with the interaction of the two drivers," said the Renault F1 boss.

"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."

During a recent Q&A with fans, Hulkenberg joked that the news of the Aussie's arrival had left him "devastated". In reality, as a true competitor, he was anything but disappointed with his employer's choice.

"His reaction was not at all unhappy that someone of the calibre of Daniel was coming, he was very happy about it. He feels it’s a great opportunity for himself to show what he’s capable of," added Budkowski.

"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."

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