"I think Nico is one of the best ones out there," Perez said. "It was very difficult to beat him this year and last year… it has been very competitive between us and we push each other forward quite a lot.
"I learned a lot from him, I don’t know whether he learned a lot from me but I look forward to having a similar level of competitiveness to Esteban. I have heard a lot of good things about him so let’s see how quick he is and how quick he can get on with the new regulations. We are all starting from zero."
Despite Hulkenberg's exit, Perez insists the team are happy to have Ocon onboard.
"Definitely. The team went for the best possible driver that they could get. Everyone is happy to have Esteban for next year so let’s hope we can deliver many points to the team."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing