Nico Hulkenberg has conceded that he might be forced to find another level in order to compete with his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian has made the switch from Red Bull to race for Renault in 2019 which could present the toughest challenge Hulkenberg has faced in F1 yet.
Ricciardo's arrival at Renault will signal the toughest competitor Hulkenberg has faced as a teammate so far in his F1 career. The prospect of playing second fiddle to the Australian is not a tempting proposition. Instead, Hulkenberg is eager to test himself against one of F1's fastest.
"Bring it on - we all cook with water, I'm not scared of anyone," he said.
"Probably it will be very challenging and I might have to find another gear, but let's see what happens."
2018 was a strong season for Hulkenberg, finishing seventh in the championship ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz as well as outqualifying him too. He added he hoped he would be able to carry the momentum into next season to continue to develop the car.
"I guess it's always important - people, outsiders, look at that (team-mate comparison) more.
"People inside the team, they know more obviously about what's really going on. It's good, I'm happy - it's much more important that the team and the car progression happens."
Hulkenberg's former teammate Sainz is on the way to McLaren to partner Lando Norris. Asked if he expected a tougher fight from Sainz, the German highlighted the pairs ability to work together well as a team.
"I wouldn't say I expected more - he's a great driver, very competitive, very quick.
"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."