Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes it was inevitable the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel would boil over at some point.
At Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the title battle between Vettel and Hamilton turned nasty as the pair collided twice ahead of the race's second Safety Car restart. Vettel was penalised for swerving into Hamilton, but showed no remorse after the race while the Mercedes driver labelled the incident "disgraceful".
After seven races of mutual respect and appreciation earlier in the season, the remaining 12 races look set to fought in a very different manner.
"The sport needs the rivalry and I think what we have seen in Baku has the ingredients of a great championship," Wolff said. "At a certain stage the best ones compete for the world championship and in that phase of their life and career they can't be friends.
"Maybe we have seen a limitation of their respect."
However, Wolff does not want the rivalry between the drivers to spill over into ill feeling between Mercedes and Ferrari. He said there would be no sign of friendship while the cars are fighting on the track, but stressed it is important to remain cordial between races.
"For me the analogy is to rugby," he said. "During the race Ferrari are our enemies and I wouldn't take any prisoners, but we must be capable, once the race is over, to have a beer like rugby players and acknowledge somebody's performance and acknowledge we are all warriors and fierce competitors out there. Nevertheless, we are racing on a joint platform and that somehow unites us."