Perez says he was "stunned" by Hulkenberg's exit

Sergio Perez admits he was "stunned" when he found out Nico Hulkenberg was leaving Force India to join rival Formula 1 outfit Renault for 2017.

Perez says he was "stunned" by Hulkenberg's exit
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault F1 Team
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault F1 Team
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 signs autographs for the fans
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09

Perez was heavily linked with a move to Renault as discussions regarding commercial agreements between the Mexican's backers and Force India dragged on.

But a deal for Perez to stay was finally confirmed, with Hulkenberg joining Renault and Force India drafting in Esteban Ocon as his replacement on a multi-year deal.

"To be honest, I was quite stunned about it," Perez told Motorsport.com's sister publication Autosport.

"I knew Nico was very high on their list and I knew if I didn't go there they'd definitely look at him," said Perez. "They are taking a great driver.

"When he went, only time will tell who took the right decision but yeah I'm happy with the three seasons that I had together with him."

Perez and Hulkenberg have been teammates since 2014, after Force India signed the duo to replace Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.

It was Hulkenberg's second stint with the team after a year as a test driver in 2011 followed by promotion to the race seat in 2012.

"We spent three years working together and they went really quick," added Perez. "I think we learned a lot from each other.

"It's time for Nico to move on to a new challenge. Nico had been longer than myself in the team, so he probably felt the need to work with new people, something different, to learn new things.

"It was great to learn so many things from Nico."

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