Jolyon Palmer says he is aware his critics are expecting him to be 'blown away' by new Renault Formula 1 team-mate Nico Hulkenberg during 2017.
Palmer retired from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a brake problem, after a gearbox issue in first practice and crash in the second session left him struggling throughout the Melbourne weekend.
Hulkenberg, meanwhile, fought for a point on his Renault debut but had to settle for 11th.
Asked by Autosport if there was a feeling from some that he would be "blown away" by Hulkenberg this season, Palmer replied: "It's fair to say that's the expectation from a lot of people.
"It was the expectation this time last year [against Kevin Magnussen] as well and it wasn't the case.
"I always relish the challenge. It's always good as a driver to go up against a really top team-mate.
"Nico's track record is really good and a lot of people have been saying he could have a top seat, so to have him alongside me is a chance to prove myself really, and also learn from him as well."
Palmer said after qualifying in Melbourne he felt like "everything had conspired against me" when fuel surge limited him to one ultra-soft tyre run and he lapped 3.3s slower than his team-mate.
The 26-year-old said "we can't read into" his deficit to Hulkenberg on the opening weekend.
"In pre-season testing we were quite close and Friday's running I think was quite comparable," Palmer added.
"And then there was the crash and the aftermath has been a real different ballgame between me and him.
"I'll start afresh in China and we'll go again."
'RESULTS WILL SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES'
Palmer made his F1 debut last season with Renault after spending a year as its predecessor Lotus's reserve driver, and winning the GP2 title in 2014.
He finished 18th in the drivers' championship, scoring his first point in the Malaysian GP, and ended the season in stronger form than his then-team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Asked about the negative perception he has faced, Palmer said: "I'm used to it to be honest.
"Nobody thought I'd win GP2 and I won GP2.
"Nobody thought I'd make it to F1 and I did.
"Nobody thought I could be a match for Kev and I was.
"It'll probably carry on. It doesn't bother me. The results speak for themselves in the end.
"Sometimes in racing perception is quite different to results on paper, and people can think someone is better or worse than they are.
"If you look at the results, maybe that initial perception is not quite the full story."