Mark Webber is fully expecting the current level of respect between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to erode over the coming months of their F1 title fight and that "fireworks" will eventually fly.
After just two races, the current season is shaping up to be a scrap between seven-time F1 champion Hamilton in his Mercedes and the driver who would be king in Red Bull's Verstappen.
Heading into this weekend's third race of the year in Portimão, Hamilton holds a narrow one-point lead over Verstappen, which has left former Red Bull driver Webber anticipating the battle so far will only grow in intensity.
"I think Hamilton has supported Mercedes a bit in the first two races," said Webber in an interview with Spanish publication Marca.
"The car is not easy, far from it, but Lewis has achieved the results and even leads the world championship.
"But he has a tough rival in Verstappen. We are all fans of Max's style. Watching his racing is incredibly spectacular, which is exactly what we ask of an F1 driver.
"They are two gladiators and that is what this sport needs, an intense rivalry...and the peak moment will come when there will be fireworks between the two, I am convinced.
"At the moment they get along and respect each other a lot, but during the season... Hamilton is a 12-round fighter, he will always be on the lookout and against him, you must be prepared to endure the whole fight.
"And in Milton Keynes, Red Bull and Honda can fight them and they know they face a tough fight."
Webber is convinced that after seven years languishing in Mercedes' shadow during the current turbo-hybrid, Red Bull has now "never been so prepared".
He added: "They know that they have a great opportunity, that they have to be very precise and always be ready for the fight because Lewis does not give you a second chance.
"They have the right man for it in the cockpit. In the last race, we have seen what they are capable of doing in the pit stops ... Mercedes is not the best at this, although it is a great team, of course.
"But each component of the Red Bull team is psyched to fight and they know how to fight to win. There are other teams that are not used to it, but Red Bull is.
"They hope to win, although they have the utmost respect for Lewis and Mercedes."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.