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."
|Salah can push on to Messi´s level - Robertson|
|BREAKING NEWS: Rabada free to play in rest of South Africa-Australia series|
|F1 2018: Halo splits opinion ahead of Australia debut|
|Iniesta better than last year – Lopetegui|
|Federer yet to decide on clay-court season|
|Okon quits as Mariners head coach|
|LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Bucks as Love returns|
|Lopetegui: Morata must earn World Cup spot|
|Ronaldo has asked about China – Scolari|
|Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts|
|Spieth, Reed to do battle in Match Play|
|Rangers´ Perez slaughtered, ate bull that caused broken elbow|
|Bills improve offensive line with Bodine, Newhouse|
|Braves phenom Acuna to start season in minors|
|Chargers add Pouncey on two-year deal|
|Ronaldo: I always show I´m the best|
|Joshua would love another Whyte tear-up, says Hearn|
|Manchester United not in Jorginho talks, says Napoli star´s agent|
|Hazard will not be false nine for Belgium, says Martinez|
|Bancroft confident on Starc and Marsh fitness|
|Mayweather to apply for MMA licence|
|Martial agent will not guarantee Manchester United stay|
|Del Potro and Djokovic on early collision course at Miami Open|
|Siemian swaps Broncos for Vikings|
|Broad chomping at the bit to bowl at Black Caps´ Taylor|
|Ronaldo slams ´fake news´ amid latest tax case claims|
|Van Dijk and Gundogan expect tough City-Liverpool tie|
|VAR to be introduced in Eredivisie|
|Di Biagio sees bright Italy future with Cutrone and Chiesa|
|Koeman won´t rule out Van Persie Netherlands return|
|I ate badly for years – how Messi solved his vomiting problem|
|England and Bath´s Watson out for the season|
|McLaren issues ´have been addressed´ ahead of F1 season opener|
|Tuchel feels he would still be at Dortmund without bomb attack|
|Pogba shows off new haircut as Ben Yedder trolls Man United star|
|Pogba cannot be happy but must focus on France, says Deschamps|
|Samuels slogs Windies closer to World Cup qualification|
|Having Rabada in third Test massive - Elgar|
|Cavs coach Lue steps away from job due to health reasons|
|Debuchy disappointed to be left out of latest France squad|
|Barton rejects England´s World Cup chances|
|Hamilton can become greatest F1 driver in history - Kovalainen|
|Sevilla coach Montella interested in Italy job|
|Football brain lacking, poor attitude and fourth choice – The Mourinho-Shaw saga at Manchester Unite|
|I´ve had enough - Pietersen confirms retirement|
|UEFA charges Marseille and Lyon for Europa League trouble|
|Broad ready to do damage in New Zealand series|
|Injured Chiellini out of Italy squad|
|Toulon-bound Webb out for rest of season|
|Buffon cites Astori among reasons for Italy return|
|Welbeck faces no action over alleged dive against Milan|
|Charnley switches back to league to join Warrington|
|Barcelona? I´m staying with PSG, insists Marco Verratti|
|Bastian Schweinsteiger & Ana Ivanovic announce birth of son|
|The numbers behind Cristiano Ronaldo´s 50 hat-tricks|
|Woods relishing end to frustrating Augusta absence|
|Consistency the only thing stopping me from being the best, claims Depay|
|Guardiola second to none tactially, says Man City midfielder Gundogan|
|McIlroy: Bay Hill win a huge confidence boost for Masters|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Mercedes|
|F1 2018: The best Opta facts ahead of the new season|
|Liverpool captain Henderson ponders Salah and Suarez comparison|
|Messi worried by the uncertainty retirement brings|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Ferrari|
|Hunt handed ban and fine but cleared to return|
|Rants, criticism a familiar story – Is Mourinho set for Man United exit?|
|Guptill added to Black Caps squad|
|Thunder end Raptors´ streak, Davis stars|
|Stars goalie Bishop expected to miss at least two weeks|
|Messi desperate for World Cup success|