Mercedes have described Red Bull as "brilliant opponents" who put up a "fantastic fight" for this year's F1 world titles, as the dust settles on a dramatic season.
Mercedes and Red Bull went head-to-head for both championships from the first race to the last in 2021, with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton involved in several on-track incidents, while the two teams regularly clashed off the circuit.
However, putting these antics to one side, and moving on from the controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Verstappen grabbed the win and Drivers' title away from Hamilton on the final lap after a late Safety Car, Mercedes - which took the Constructors' crown - have taken a moment to pay tribute to their rivals.
The words came from Mercedes Chief Technical Officer James Allison, who was the team's representative at the FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Paris on Thursday night, with team boss Toto Wolff and runner-up Hamilton absent.
"They're brilliant opponents"
Allison took to the stage to collect the F1 Constructors' trophy - the eighth in a row for Mercedes.
"It's a very, very difficult thing to win one championship, to do two [is] quite remarkable, eight… words fail me," said Allison, as he began his speech.
"It is a brilliant group of people who work tirelessly and I can't stress enough what a massive pleasure it is to be able to pick up this trophy today after a championship of such quality."
Of Red Bull, he added: "[We've] had the pleasure of fighting like cats and dogs all year – they're brilliant opponents. We get on each other's t**s a bit, but that's how it should be!
"It was just a fantastic fight, so [we're] very grateful for that."
Verstappen finished eight points clear of Hamilton in the Drivers' standings, while Mercedes ended up with a 28-point advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' battle.
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