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."
|Williams knocked out as Garcia and Pliskova advance in Ohio|
|Kvitova sees off Serena in Cincinnati classic|
|Federer dispatches Gojowczyk in Cincinnati|
|Stead succeeds Hesson as New Zealand coach|
|Duminy encouraged despite South Africa´s mixed results|
|Thiem withdraws from Cincinnati Masters|
|Edwards joins Ospreys in consultancy role|
|Former Arsenal and Barcelona player Song joins Sion|
|I´m very happy with what I have - Spalletti not desperate for Modric|
|Roethlisberger evaluated for concussion after practice|
|Brady ´absolutely´ expects to face Eagles|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Reasons for optimism and concern for Australia|
|Wentz ´gonna be close´ for Eagles opener|
|Cleveland ´victory fridges´ to unlock beer if Browns finally win|
|England´s Watson suffers injury setback|
|Mariners reinstate Cano after 80-game suspension|
|AEK Athens 2 Celtic 1 (3-2 agg): Rodgers´ men dumped out of Champions League|
|Alonso to leave F1: Paddock reacts to Spaniard´s exit|
|Roma sign midfielder N´Zonzi from Sevilla|
|Alonso to leave F1: Who will replace Fernando at McLaren?|
|Extraordinary Zidane is in Real Madrid´s past - Lopetegui|
|Alonso to leave F1: Then and now - how the grid, teams and calendar have changed since 2001|
|Wawrinka and Azarenka receive US Open wildcards|
|Parma sign Napoli pair Inglese and Grassi on loan|
|Sandakan castles Proteas before Sri Lanka squeeze home|
|Ronaldo sale won´t stop Real Madrid winning - Ramos|
|Predators sign Ryan Ellis to eight-year, $50M contract|
|Curran, Woakes, Rashid - who makes way for Stokes in England´s Test XI?|
|Griezmann well positioned for Ballon d´Or, says Simeone|
|Criscito: I was on Genoa bridge shortly before collapse|
|Alonso to leave F1: How the Spaniard´s numbers stack up to the greats|
|Rookie LB Roquan Smith finally signs Bears contract|
|De Villiers enjoying relief from ´unbearable´ Proteas pressure|
|Fernando Alonso to leave F1|
|Spalletti extends Inter contract|
|Godin, Koke, Griezmann and Juanfran named Atletico Madrid captains|
|Ronaldo out of hospital after illness|
|Fury: Beating Wilder and Joshua ´very easy´|
|Dickinson retires to take up academy coaching role|
|Cricket the ´sole focus´ for Stokes as he returns to England squad|
|Cheryshev moves to Valencia on loan|
|Mandzukic retires from Croatia duty after World Cup|
|Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray|
|Tottenham issue new stadium update and apology to fans|
|Chelsea flop Bakayoko moves to AC Milan on loan|
|Gabi urges Al Sadd team-mate Xavi to play on|
|Ronaldo leads UEFA Goal of the Season nominees|
|Federer: Djokovic could be caught up in US Open pressure|
|Ronaldo to Juventus a huge boost for Serie A – Matthaus|
|Werner would welcome Ozil Germany return|
|´Perfectionist´ Serena admits to ´unrealistic´ expectations in tennis and motherhood|
|Klopp praises Deschamps and his ´boring´ France|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale or Griezmann - Who will step into Ronaldo´s breach as Messi´s main rival?|
|Woods winning 15th major would be greatest comeback in sport – Faldo|
|Retiring Storm great Hoffman not giving up on Finals dream|
|Folau won´t change aerial approach in All Blacks showdown|
|Racism behind Sterling criticism, says ex-Arsenal star Wright|
|Eto´o joins Qatar SC following Ligue 1 links|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Atletico academy eclipsing Madrid, La Masia|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Should Real Madrid cash in on Modric?|
|Scintillating Serena sends warning, Azarenka survives opener|
|DeGrom strikes out 12, Mets hit 5 homers in win over Yankees|
|Djokovic needs nine MPs as Murray crashes out|
|Murray unsure of US Open readiness after Cincinnati exit|
|Van Dijk: Alisson making difference at Liverpool|
|Johnson saves eight MPs but Djokovic prevails|
|Federer anxious ahead of Cincinnati comeback|
|Tevez relishing Messi reunion|
|Ronaldo arrival has taken Juve forward in Europe – Nedved|
|Serena steamrolls Gavrilova in Cincinnati return|