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."
|Luis Enrique hails ´extraterrestrial´ Messi|
|Sharks battle past Stormers, Hurricanes hold on|
|Simpson grabs two-shot lead at Colonial|
|Baker wins Eugene sprint as Gatlin and De Grasse falter|
|Hometown heartbreak for Brook as Spence claims welterweight title|
|De Villiers upset at umpire questions over ball|
|Every player wants to play more – Fabregas cagey on Chelsea future after final omission|
|Tuchel hopes to continue as Borussia Dortmund boss|
|Kompany adamant Stones ´has everything´|
|People talk too much about China - Costa would only leave Chelsea for Atletico|
|Conte clear-headed for close season after Chelsea´s Wembley woe|
|Conte: Sanchez´s goal should not have stood|
|Neymar equals Puskas´ record in Copa final|
|Carrick signs new one-year Manchester United deal|
|Barcelona 3 Alaves 1: Messi magic secures Luis Enrique parting gift|
|Angers 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Cissokho own goal in stoppage time delivers Coupe de France glory|
|Ridiculous to base my future on one match - Wenger|
|Stokes set for scan on troublesome knee|
|Allegri turns focus to Champions League after ´beautiful´ season|
|Wood denies Miller and Morris as England clinch series|
|At last, Homer Simpson takes his place in Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Eintracht Frankfurt 1 Borussia Dortmund 2: Audacious Aubameyang penalty seals DFB-Pokal crown in sty|
|Scintillating Scarlets trounce Munster to claim Pro12 glory|
|Ramsey wants Wenger to stay after scoring FA Cup final winner|
|On Wednesday it will be clearer – Wenger reiterates stance on his future despite FA Cup glory|
|Wenger should bow out in glory after Wembley thriller|
|Silva attracted by Watford´s ambition|
|Arsenal and Wenger set new FA Cup records|
|Teenager Kean makes history with Juve winner|
|Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1: Ramsey the hero again as Gunners win record 13th FA Cup|
|Clermont end Racing´s Top 14 defence despite Van der Merwe dismissal|
|Moses sent off following dive in FA Cup final|
|Bologna 1 Juventus 2: Kean´s first goal secures win|
|Dodt moves into lead in Wentworth wind|
|Stosur wins all-Aussie Strasbourg final|
|Hasenhuttl acknowledges RB Leipzig could lose Keita and Forsberg|
|Making history is not easy! - Rodgers lauds Celtic´s identity after Scottish Cup triumph|
|Pinot takes penultimate stage but Dumoulin seen as Giro favourite|
|Chiefs win first Premiership title in Twickenham thriller|
|Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1: Late Rogic moment of magic seals unbeaten domestic treble|
|Montella urges Donnarumma to ´use his head´ amid Milan exit speculation|
|Spalletti not drawn on Inter links as he eyes second place with Roma|
|Wawrinka on Swiss roll with Geneva triumph|
|FA Cup final: Ospina starts for Arsenal with Chelsea stars primed for double|
|Vecchi demands ´blood, sweat and tears´ from Inter players|
|Totti is used by the media - Spalletti frustrated by focus on Roma captain|
|Tsonga edges Berdych for maiden clay-court title|
|Falcao wants Monaco stay|
|Bertens retains title in Nurnberg|
|Sergio Ramos is tattooing every week – Varela bemused by Frankfurt banishment|
|Juventus stalwart Tacchinardi ´betting on Higuain´ to settle Champions League|
|Hamilton not looking forward to ´nice Sunday drive´|
|Mertens renews Napoli deal|
|Romero wants to become United´s number one|
|El Shaarawy and Montolivo handed Italy recalls|
|Ex-Newcastle boss Pardew not interested in Sunderland job|
|Raikkonen storms to long-awaited pole, Hamilton to start in 14th|
|Watford appoint Silva|
|A disgrace I will never forget – Wenger savages Arsenal critics|
|Crusaders crush Rebels, Highlanders down Waratahs|
|Mourinho: Griezmann? Ask Ed Woodward|
|Townsend drop goal snatches Sharks win, Warriors beat depleted Broncos|
|Raiola denies Donnarumma threat from AC Milan ahead of contract talks|
|Zabaleta challenges West Ham to believe in winning trophies|
|Ajax defender Sanchez would love to play for Barcelona|
|Button hit with 15-place grid penalty in Monaco|
|Kane beats Kante to PFA Fans´ Player of the Season prize|
|Kane will stay at Tottenham but others may think we´re ´a nearly club´, says Rose|
|Stopping Messi the main concern for reported Real Madrid target Hernandez|
|Asensio: Rafa Nadal told Real Madrid to sign me|