Nico Hulkenberg believes the recent resurgence of the Haas team makes them the genuine threat for fourth in the Constructors' Championship going forward.
The German's Renault team has been the most consistent performer of the midfield pack so far in 2018 with just one race where neither driver failed to score, that coming in Austria.
As a result, they hold the prestigious 'best of the rest' position behind the top three teams with 70 points, 19 ahead of the American squad in fifth with only a further three points back to McLaren in seventh.
Hulkenberg's former team Force India is in between in sixth, but of the three teams, it has been the recent gains of Haas, with the fourth fastest car in Austria and Britain, that has caught the eye.
"I think its shifted around with Haas coming through more and McLaren seem to have lost out a little bit. We take them seriously because they are fast," he told Crash.net.
The main reason for their performance is thought to be their close relationship with Ferrari, something Fernando Alonso alluded to over the Silverstone weekend, but results haven't always matched their promise mostly through their own mistakes.
"How they got there doesn’t really play a role for me, they are strong at the moment and we just have to deal with it," Hulkenberg claimed. referring to the Ferrari link.
"They fulfilled their potential [in Austria], whereas before they’ve really missed out.
"The momentum sometimes swings around, but at the end of the day they have a strong car and a good package."
The 30-year-old is hoping he can keep the French manufacturer ahead though, as he looks ahead to his first home race in two years this weekend at Hockenheim.
"It’s very special to have the German Grand Prix back on the calendar," Nico said. "A home race is extremely motivating, as you carry that extra ounce of determination to do well in front of the home fans.
"I enjoy this track a lot, and this year with the increased downforce cars, it will be even more fun.
"We will be looking at our qualifying pace, as we know the midfield fight is getting close and we have to keep the upgrades coming and hard work in order to stay ahead of our rivals," he added.
"I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll be aiming for a positive result for the team and for the German fans."
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