Hulkenberg's Renault F1 move for 2017 stunned Perez

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

Hulkenberg's Renault F1 move for 2017 stunned Perez

Perez was heavily linked with a move to Renault as discussions regarding commercial agreements between his backers and Force India dragged on last summer.

Why Renault is Hulkenberg's last-chance saloon

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

"To be honest, I was quite stunned about it," Perez told 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.

"They are taking a great driver.

"Only time will tell who took the right decision but I'm happy with the three seasons that I had together with him."

Perez and Hulkenberg had been team-mates 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 a race seat for the '12 season.

"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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