Nico Hulkenberg offered a tongue-in-cheek response to fans when he was asked how he reacted to the shock news that Daniel Ricciardo would be joining him at Renault next year.
The Australian stunned Formula One when he finally announced he would be leaving the Milton Keynes-based team to drop down to Renault, despite reportedly speaking with both Ferrari and Mercedes.
Ricciardo will replace Carlos Sainz Jr, who moved to McLaren, and will partner Hulkenberg, who finished ‘best-of-the-rest’ in 2018, as the best performing driver not at one of the top three teams.
The Perth native is expected to help push Renault closer to those big three but also be a thorn in the side of Hulkenberg, who has already insisted he won’t lie down to Ricciardo’s challenge and is looking forward to proving how good a driver he can be.
And when the German was posed with the question to what his reaction was to the announcement of his new teammate, he decided to poke fun at the situation.
“I was devastated,” he joked. “I was on the floor, I was crying – it really hit me hard.
“No, I was okay with it,” he added more seriously. “I got a phone call the day before, it was good news.”
Hulkenberg has already sent out a warning that he will be up for any challenge that facing Ricciardo proves to be.
“Bring it on – we all cooking with water,” he said in December. “I’m not scared of anyone.
“Probably it will be very challenging and I might have to find another gear, but let’s see what happens.”
The Renault will be a new challenge for Ricciardo and he will be eager for a fresh environment.
Whatever the case, the 2019 Formula One season will certainly be very interesting indeed.