Nico Rosberg admitted his relationship with Lewis Hamilton is "more difficult" now that they are involved in a battle for the Drivers' Championship title.
Rosberg added that, even after the controversy during qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix last month, there is a mutual respect between him and Hamilton that's been developed over 15 years of racing against each other.
The German's comments come after Hamilton said on Thursday that the feud between the Mercedes pair was "done and dusted" and that "things have never been better".
"We've always had periods where it was more difficult," Rosberg told Autosport ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
"But we have that base respect which goes back 15 years and that is the important one.
"As a result we always discuss things and move on, and that is how it has been this time too.
"It [the relationship] has not changed in any way - it is still the same as it used to be, so it's not different. But of course it is more difficult, that is clear.
"We are fighting every single race weekend. It is me against him and there is nobody else, so it definitely makes it more difficult. And there is more at stake.
"Am I surprised that we have certain difficulties early on when we are both fighting for every race win? No. It has always been there, back in go-karting.
"We had difficulties and even then we were fighting every time for the race wins, so I am not surprised."
Although the rivalry between the has been compared to that of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren during the last 1980s, Rosberg added that he doesn't pay much attention to media speculation and reports.
"I want to win races, so everything I do is focused on that - winning races," he continued.
"At the same time I understand that you are writing for the fans who are there, and that is the most important thing. And that is why we are racing, so it is a fine line.
"I am here to try to give you some cool stuff, but I want to try to avoid giving things that heat the moment any more unnecessarily.
"I don't want to compare myself to him, I can say in general that I tend to err towards the rational side, but it is sometimes very difficult in this sport and in the heat of the moment of course.
"But I try for myself to be a little bit towards the rational side - not comparing to anybody else."
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