Daniel Ricciardo acknowledges friction with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen could be inevitable if the pair were challenge for the Formula One world title, describing it as "part of the game".
Mercedes' prolonged period of dominance in F1 continued in 2016, leaving the chasing pack struggling to keep up, as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton once again battled for supremacy.
Red Bull were the best of the rest, but the gulf to Mercedes was such that Ricciardo and exciting newcomer Verstappen were able to race in harmony.
But amiable Australian Ricciardo is savvy enough to realise the positive working relationship is sure to be tested if Red Bull can challenge for glory.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ricciardo said: "I can't be naive and think we are still going to love each other no matter what, even if we are banging wheel to wheel every race.
"We are competitors. If there is tension or friction as the season goes on that's part of the game."
Red Bull have history when it comes to warring drivers, with Sebastian Vettel often at odds with Mark Webber during their time racing together between 2010 and 2013.
The prospect of a rivalry between the current line-up is one that would be sure to make motorsport enthusiasts purr given the fearless approach to racing held by Ricciardo and Verstappen.
And the older man recognises the importance of staying one step ahead of Verstappen.
"If Lewis [Hamilton] beats me in a Mercedes, I can tell the world he beat me because his car is better," he added.
"But if Max beats me every race I am going to run out of excuses, so certainly your team-mate is the number one person you want to beat.
"If I am putting myself out there and taking some of these risks, then I want to do it properly. If I am going to race I will put everything on the line."
|Alonso announces move into management|
|Klopp considers starting ´artists´ against Spartak|
|Lacazette not just a goalscorer – Wenger|
|Jerry Jones, entire Cowboys team kneel before national anthem|
|Aguero only world-class Premier League striker – Henry|
|Steelers´ Villanueva ´embarrassed´ he stood alone for national anthem|
|Kane: I use Ronaldo and Messi as motivation|
|LeBron on protests: My voice is more important than my knee|
|Sproles sidelined with torn ACL, broken arm|
|Rodriguez penalty call correct for Wenger|
|Roethlisberger regrets Steelers´ decision to miss national anthem|
|Pulis rounds on ´cheating´ Sanchez amid Rodriguez penalty row|
|Ramsey: Arsenal must make Emirates a fortress|
|Arsenal 2 West Brom 0: Lacazette double enough for Gunners as Barry breaks Premier League record|
|Yankees´ Aaron Judge breaks Mark McGwire’s rookie HR record|
|Dunbar a doubt for Scotland internationals after surgery|
|Benjamin MRI reveals no structural damage to knee|
|No Real Madrid doubts over Cristiano Ronaldo, insists Carvajal|
|England Ashes hopeful Westley escapes with bruised thumb|
|Nineteen years and counting – Barry´s record-breaking Premier League career in Opta numbers|
|Barry to break Giggs´ Premier League appearance record|
|US Open finalists Stephens and Keys suffer first-round Wuhan defeats|
|Zidane has faith in Real Madrid style|
|Suso pens AC Milan extension until 2022|
|Cavaliers hopeful of January return for Thomas|
|Real Madrid injuries will make no difference, says Bosz|
|A waste of time - Klopp baffled by media questions ahead of Champions League tie|
|Knicks make Anthony trade to Thunder official|
|Football Association backs Glenn over Sampson sacking|
|Juventus to appeal against fine, Agnelli ban issued by FIGC|
|Aguero and Jesus partnership delights Guardiola|
|Athletics´ Maxwell will continue kneeling despite threats & racial slurs|
|Deulofeu, Semedo return for Barcelona but Alcacer dropped for Sporting CP clash|
|Tom Brady disagrees with Donald Trump´s anthem comments|
|Guardiola uneasy over lofty Manchester City comparisons|
|Josh Norman: Donald Trump is not my president|
|FIFA ´applying common sense´ with expected poppy ban U-turn|
|Walker: It was a nightmare facing Aguero|
|Victorious Darcis sets up Zverev clash in Shenzhen|
|Promes a doubt for Spartak´s Liverpool clash|
|Dortmund meet Madrid again as Besiktas look to end drought - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Castleford Tigers get six in Super League Dream Team|
|Villarreal promote coach Calleja to first-team duties|
|Ashes hopeful Westley faces anxious wait over hand injury|
|Donald Trump ´so proud of NASCAR´ for stance on protests during anthem|
|Zvonareva ousts fourth seed Begu in Tashkent opener|
|Napoli striker Milik set for long lay-off after knee surgery|
|Mourinho avoids FA punishment after being sent off at Southampton|
|Draxler predicts a ´spectacle´ when PSG face Bayern|
|Tevez challenged to prove his worth by Shanghai Shenhua|
|Mercedes avoiding complacency after Singapore ´surprise´|
|Bielsa has backing of Lille owner despite poor run|
|Shakhtar will attack Man City, predicts Fernandinho|
|Burki hopes Dortmund crowd can be key against Madrid|
|Zverev: Everyone would want Federer as a coach|
|Kroos returns for Madrid´s trip to Dortmund|
|Chelsea boss Conte: For sure, I will return to Italy|
|Neymar and Mbappe need time to settle at PSG, says Ancelotti|
|Aston Martin named Red Bull´s title sponsor from 2018|
|Walker´s World Cup hopes ended by ankle surgery|
|Villarreal sack Escriba after Getafe humbling|
|Mathieu hits out at Barcelona treatment|
|Lukaku and Raiola repeat calls for offensive chant to stop|
|Billy Vunipola would take pay cut to avoid burn out|
|Agar out of India tour with broken finger|
|De Bruyne keen on new Manchester City deal|
|Marcelino laughs off injury after hurting hamstring celebrating|
|Diamondbacks clinch home-field advantage in wildcard game with walk-off win|
|Brady, Rodgers inspire comebacks for Pats and Packers|
|Milan shouldn´t be losing to weaker teams – Fassone slams Montella´s men|