Daniel Ricciardo says he will be lucky just to come away with points in the Italian Grand Prix as Red Bull-Renault's reliability woes were typified by another terminal engine failure, this time after just five laps.
With Red Bull intentionally compromising itself for Monza with a pre-event engine change, in an effort to give it a better chance of being competitive at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, Ricciardo got the chance to run the new Renault unit in FP3.
However, in a season beset by persistent reliability problems, Ricciardo's engine lasted just five laps before it cried enough to the point that the Australian says it is terminally damaged. Nonetheless, having already accepted he would be starting towards the back of the grid, Ricciardo is keeping his expectations modest for the race.
“If we could get any sort of points tomorrow, that'd be good,” he said. “Anywhere in the top ten would be a great weekend. Even our one lap pace has been on the cusp, not quite in the top ten, so if we can find some race pace that would be good.”
Reflecting on yet more problems from the Renault power unit, Ricciardo remains philosophical about the challenges, saying he would be more frustrated if it had occurred in Singapore.
“It was brand new this morning and it is finished… they are creating the tombstone for it,” he joked. “This weekend we put the new engine in, but it was still the same specification and still unreliable.
“It is not nice but then you quickly change your frame of mind and I think I can have a fun race and pass some people, so you always find some positives in it. It is a track we know we aren't going to score big points on, so in a way we don't feel like we are losing that much. If we knew we had a penalty at Singapore, that would be harder to handle. Knowing it is here, where at best we will get a top eight, it is not a big issue.”