Sainz: Hulkenberg one of the best on the grid

Date published: January 27 2019

Carlos Sainz claims his former teammate Nico Hulkenberg would win “straight away” with a team at the top of the Formula 1 grid.

The Spaniard partnered Hulkenberg at Renault for the 2018 season, having joined at the back-end of 2017, before making the switch to McLaren ahead of the new campaign.

Hulkenberg has long been labelled as one of the most underrated drivers in the sport – backed up by his ‘best of the rest’ P7 finish in the 2018 Drivers’ Championship.

The German holds a Formula 1 record of 156 grand prix starts without a podium, but Sainz believes that would quickly change if he was in a car competing for race wins.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “The year that I came to Renault, Nico was having already a very strong year.

“I saw him performing at the highest level I’ve seen I think perform in the midfield for years.

“For me he’s one of those guys that you give him a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull he’d win races straight away.

“But unfortunately you guys are not able to see it, not able to calculate it, as Formula 1 works like that.

“Nico is one of those guys that I’ve learned a lot from and I’m going to go to McLaren with that experience, having shared a team with one of the most talented drivers in the grid right now.”

Sainz finished three places behind Hulkenberg in 2018, coming home in P10, but he believes the tally didn’t represent his true performance.

“I’m not entirely happy [with] the amount of points I got in my good weekends,” he explained.

“The amount of points I get at the end of the season is not the amount that I think I deserve or the amount that I wish for.”

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