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Nico Hulkenberg says he expects his new Renault teammate to be “fast”.

Departing Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz, who will be paired with German Hulkenberg full-time from next year, will get an early start at Renault in the last four races of 2017.

Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport: “I only know him from the paddock, but he is an ambitious driver.

“He is still young and wild, but he is certainly fast,” he added.

Asked if he is looking forward to being partnered by 23-year-old Sainz, having shared the yellow-coloured garage with ousted Jolyon Palmer until now, Hulkenberg added: “It’s ok.

“I will continue to do my own thing.”

He admitted he may have an advantage over Sainz at the beginning of their new partnership.

“It’s hard to estimate, but of course you always need a certain period of familiarisation. We’ll see,” said Hulkenberg, 30.

Former F1 driver Roberto Merhi is not so sure his Spanish countryman Sainz should have agreed to the early switch.

“Honestly, going to Renault during the season seems like a mistake to me,” he told the Marca sports daily.

“I would have finished the year with Toro Rosso,” the former Marussia driver explained.

“He was doing a great year, and then next year, with the tests and a new season, he would have started with Nico on equal terms.”

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