Daniel Ricciardo says that he is still chasing a possible top five finish this season, but accepts that, given Toro Rosso's current form, it is a dream that he is unlikely to fulfil.
The Australian started his first full season in the top flight in promising fashion, claiming ninth position on debut with the Italian squad, but then had to wait until last weekend's Belgian round to return to the top ten, repeating the same result to double his points tally to four. Rookie team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne has twice as many points, but has a similar number of scoring finishes, having managed eighth place at both Sepang and Spa, leaving STR a long way off the battle for sixth place it was involved in a year ago.
"It was nice to get some more points on the board – unfortunately [it has been] longer than I was hoping since Melbourne, but good to get a few more," Ricciardo commented, "The first stint was looking alright. Obviously, we benefitted from the mayhem at the start and got as high as fifth, I think. I was hoping to finish up there, but unfortunately we dropped back a bit in the end to ninth.
"Still, [it was] definitely good for myself and the team to get both cars in the points. Hopefully, we can build on some of that momentum and Monza, obviously, is a nice place for us to come. [It's] the team's home grand prix and I've got a little bit of heritage myself, so it's nice to come in with the momentum of Spa and hopefully score some more points.
"We'll see [how competitive we are], I guess, once we're out on track tomorrow but, as always, all teams bring a Monza downforce setting for this race and we'll soon find out if ours is going to be competitive enough. I'm looking forward to it, to say the least."
Asked whether he though Toro Rosso could become a regular feature in the points over the remaining eight races, however, Ricciardo admitted that the team would need to make progress.
"I would love to get points more regularly, would love to improve on my ninth position." he allowed, "I would love to get a top five – I think that would be a good achievement for myself and the team - but we'll take it step-by-step for now. As I said, [Italy]'s a nice grand prix for us and, obviously, the team's only victory came here, so it would be nice to keep a story going for this race."