Despite being widely regarded as one of the most impressive drivers on the F1 grid, as well as having won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015, Hulkenberg has yet to appear on the podium in 156 grands prix starts.
Ricciardo left Red Bull, where he scored seven wins and 29 podiums during a five-year spell at the team, to partner Hulkenberg at the Renault works team.
He says he will need the happy memories of his time and success at Red Bull to ease the transition at his new team and beat Hulkenberg.
“I’ll certainly take a lot of the highs with me and take them with me as confidence moving to Renault,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com. “And I’ll need that as well because of Nico.
“I think that everyone who knows F1 knows his calibre. From the outside, you can think that he’s done 200 races or whatever and never had a podium, but we all know he isn’t that level of driver.
“So I know I’ll need to bring all of this, not only to beat him, but also to help fast-track the team to progress.”
Ricciardo’s final season with Red Bull was marred by reliability problems and he was comprehensively defeated by teammate Max Verstappen in the championship.
However, his 2018 highlights include a long-awaited win in Monaco despite an MGU-K failure, and Ricciardo says memories like that are very powerful.
“I’ll still hold onto Monaco forever because the aftermath of all that was the biggest high I’ve ever had,” Ricciardo said.
“Walking back into the Energy Station that day after doing all the press – just seeing everyone…It was full, and I got a standing ovation, and I was so proud that everyone was so happy for me.
“I do this for myself, this sport, and the day I stop loving it I’ll stop. Having that effect and making so many other people happy, that was awesome.
“That moment made me feel like I’m not just doing this for myself.”