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."
|McCall: Kruis still has Lions chance|
|Funes Mori a derby doubt after injury on Argentina duty|
|France 0 Spain 2: Silva and Deulofeu seal win as video technology enjoys another successful trial|
|Portugal 2 Sweden 3: Last-gasp Cancelo own-goal ruins Ronaldo´s homecoming|
|Sanchez: I played as a goalkeeper in jail|
|Netherlands 1 Italy 2: In-form Azzurri compound Dutch misery on Grim debut|
|Republic of Ireland 0 Iceland 1: Magnusson magic hands hosts rare loss|
|Martinez frustrated by Belgium collapse|
|NFL owners ban leaping over line to block kicks; approve centralised replay|
|South Africa 0 Angola 0: Referee collides with player in goalless draw|
|Hue Jackson: Browns will not trade number one overall pick|
|Scrapping offside rule would make no sense – Low|
|Aguero overlooked as Correa replaces Messi for Argentina|
|Del Bosque urges Pique to continue Spain career|
|´Zola came close to being appointed Inter coach ´|
|Messi´s four-match Argentina ban is nonsense - Menotti|
|Russia 3 Belgium 3: Bukarov spares hosts´ blushes|
|Carberry still has ´a long way to go´ despite Hampshire return|
|Chester signs new Wakefield deal|
|Real Madrid want Isco to stay, says Ramos|
|Serena Williams set for Madrid comeback|
|Mendis and Taskin heroics in vain as rain washes out Bangladesh-Sri Lanka|
|Tomkins concern for Wigan|
|With and without Messi: The stats that prove Argentina will struggle to reach World Cup|
|Sarries offer over free tickets to emergency services following terror attack|
|Argentina to appeal Messi´s four-match FIFA ban|
|Donald Trump could throw first pitch for Nationals´ opening day, report says|
|Smith and Jadeja shine brightest: India-Australia in Opta numbers|
|Messi hit with four-match ban ahead of Bolivia v Argentina|
|Silver: NBA very focused on having female head coach|
|Waratahs taking no risks with Foley after concussion setback|
|Bellew made a will amid Haye bout death fears|
|South Korea 1 Syria 0: Hong effort sees off spirited visitors|
|Japan 4 Thailand 0: Kubo inspires comfortable win for Blue Samurai|
|UAE coach quits after World Cup qualifying defeat|
|Griezmann makes LaLiga better - Madrid captain Ramos hails Atleti star|
|Murray out of Davis Cup tie|
|No reason why India can´t win abroad - Kumble|
|Australia 2 United Arab Emirates 0: Irvine, Leckie ease World Cup qualification fears|
|Partizan UEFA ban lifted after CAS appeal|
|Manchester United and Mourinho a good fit for Pogba, but Pires urges patience|
|Adopt a Lion: Kiwis urged to open homes for touring fans|
|Don´t go to Real Madrid yet, Pires tells Mbappe|
|Jagielka: Everton want to win Merseyside derby for Coleman|
|Options limited if Ozil leaves Arsenal, Ballack claims|
|Fire at the home of CSL side Shanghai Shenhua|
|Friendships with Australia players over, says Kohli|
|Messi is Barca and Barca is Messi - Neymar confident over star´s Camp Nou stay|
|Kohli ´absolutely delighted´ to retain top ranking|
|AFA confident Messi will face Bolivia amid ban threat|
|Weather not a worry for Patel|
|Kohli describes Australia series win as India´s ´best so far´|
|A lot of people wrote us off - Smith proud of Australia in defeat|
|New Zealand closing in on victory against Proteas|
|India regain Border-Gavaskar trophy with crushing win|
|Spurs dismantle Cavs, Westbrook lifts Thunder|
|Brazil attracting attention of Messi - Neymar|
|Kerber, Pliskova advance to quarters but Cibulkova and Muguruza fall|
|No decision made on Western Force future - ARU|
|Federer, Wawrinka move into last 16|
|Verratti accepts L´Equipe apology after partying accusations|
|Neymar uncomfortable with Messi and Ronaldo comparisons|
|Ramos: Real Madrid will welcome Mbappe with open arms|
|Ivory Coast-Senegal abandoned after crowd trouble|
|49ers general manager Lynch welcomes Raiders fans to ´come jump on our train´|
|In-demand Rodrigo Caio signs new Sao Paulo deal|
|I hope I don´t jinx him - De Rossi tips Gagliardini as his ´heir´|
|Ventura explains Barzagli´s ´problems´ after Italy withdrawal|
|Kraft: Brady wants to play ´six or seven´ more years|
|I´m in the middle of my career - Retirement far from Ramos´ thoughts|