F1: 3 Reasons Why Hulkenberg Could Challenge Ricciardo at Renault
#3 He Will be in his Third Season at Renault
Hulkenberg was a good driver (by Formula 1 standards) before he joined Renault, but I believe he's elevated himself to a new level since joining the French manufacturer.
Dev Tyagi wrote a great article on just how good Hulk's 2018 has been so far, so make sure to check that out as well if you'd like some further reading, but I'll summarise my observations here.
It takes time to settle down with anything in life, and that includes a racing team. Many complain about how similar the F1 cars are these days, but they're all unique machines and mastering and optimizing each's nuances separates the goods from the greats.
Ricciardo, despite how good he is, will have to allow for an adjustment period after driving for the Red Bull family in Formula 1 since 2012.
Ricciardo could hit the ground running, of course, especially since he has plenty of experience with Renault engines, but I believe it could take half of the 2019 season to fully adapt, seeing as testing mileage is so limited these days.
The gap between the top three teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull) and the others is a yawning chasm and one of F1's biggest criticisms in recent times.
Hulk's done his best to challenge them but is often consigned to being "best of the rest" in seventh or around there.
When you consider there are the likes of Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and his teammate Sainz in that mix, to be consistently on top of "the second championship" as it's been dubbed is a fine achievement.
It's something that any of F1's recognised top drivers would be proud of in that situation, and that includes Daniel Ricciardo.
But how do you think Hulkenberg will compete against Ricciardo next year? Will the Hulk smash the Honey Badger or will it go as many fans expect it to? Let us know in the comments below!