While the former endured a collection of issues, a crash and a retirement in the race, the latter was spared any problems and finished just one second shy of the points.
Many in the F1 paddock have suggested that the result was a sign of things to come, with Palmer expected to be "blown away" by his Hulkenberg this season.
But where others see a problem for the Brit, he sees an opportunity.
"It's fair to say that's the expectation from a lot of people," Palmer told Motorsport.com
"It was the expectation this time last year 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 justifiably notes that given the series of problems which undermined his weekend, Melbourne did not offer a fair relative performance compare between the two Renault drivers.
"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.
"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."