"For me, Red Bull is in front with the chassis," said the German, acknowledging that, as an overall package, the powerful Mercedes is leading the pack.
But "No car steers so well or comes out of the corners like it (the Red Bull)," Hulkenberg is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport in Bahrain.
"Mercedes and Ferrari are not far behind," he added.
World champion Sebastian Vettel appeared to acknowledge that Red Bull's only problem is the underpowered Renault engine.
"If we do our homework well and set up the car perfectly, then it is possible I can make up some time to the others in the corners," he said.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, however, said the works Mercedes W05 is also a very good car.
"We know they have a power advantage," said the Spaniard. "But you only have to look at the gap to their customers' cars to see that the works team has a very good car."
Another very good car is the Mercedes-powered Williams, which is expected to be perhaps the quickest car overall on the long Bahrain straights.
"They (Williams) have really good fuel consumption," agreed Hulkenberg, whose Force India team uses the same Mercedes engine.