Carlos Sainz is hoping to find more time in his Toro Rosso ahead of Monaco Grand Prix qualifying in order to protect his surprise top six position from practice.

Although he showed well on home soil two weeks ago, the Spaniard - who turned eighth on the grid into sixth place at the chequered flag at the Circuit de Catalunya - is well aware that day one of a grand prix meeting is nothing to base future performance on, and fully expects Toro Rosso's rivals to ramp things up in qualifying and the race. Sainz finished day one in Monaco sixth on the timesheets, one spot behind new team-mate Daniil Kvyat, and ahead of some bigger names.

"It was a bit of a surprise for us to be in front of teams like Ferrari or McLaren," he admitted, "We knew that the package is there, the drivers are there, but we just need to keep showing it on Saturday. Unfortunately, it's just Thursday and it counts little - like my P5 counted little in Barcelona on Friday - but we can build on that."

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A small mistake towards the end of his best lap cost Sainz time, but he is confident that there is more to come from both himself and the car ahead of qualifying - when he expects to need an improvement to hold station in the pecking order.

"The lock-up [at Rascasse] was just a small mistake but, hopefully, we'll find some performance a bit everywhere on Saturday," he confirmed, "I'm convinced teams like Ferrari, Force India, Williams and McLaren will turn it up on Saturday, so we need to be really careful. Thursday in Monaco, there is always traffic, always drivers leaving two- or four-tenths, always set-ups you can improve, so who knows?"

Like many of his rivals, Sainz was underwhelmed by the new Pirelli ultrasoft compound, feeling that it should have been more different to the other rubber on offer this weekend.

"Hopefully [there is more time there] as I was a bit disappointed when I only found 0.3secs, that's for sure," he admitted, "I was hoping for a bit more but, hopefully, on Saturday, I can push a bit more and find a few tenths."