Formula One title contender Daniel Ricciardo said Red Bull might have to settle for a 'damage limitation' weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.
Following the Australian's enthralling victory in Belgium, F1 makes its final European stop this season at Monza.
Having won consecutive grands prix, Ricciardo claimed the circuit near Milan - the fastest on the F1 calendar - did not suit Red Bull's set-up.
Therefore the team is expecting Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, both ahead of Ricciardo in the championship, to again be the fastest team.
"We have Monza coming up this weekend, which on paper, should be our worst circuit," the 25-year-old told SEN.
"I think if we survive this one with a nice podium or top-five finish - I think we can realistically have a crack at the championship."
While Red Bull is downplaying its chances this weekend, Christian Horner's team in fact showed improved straight line speed a fortnight ago at Spa by sacrificing downforce.
And with more suited tracks on the horizon, Ricciardo is buoyant about his prospects entering the final third of the season.
"I don't want to talk it down too much, but [Mercedes'] pace is really good," he said.
"I have been there to capitalise when they have tripped over each other or had some issue.
"Those sort of things happen in racing - you never know."
Ricciardo remains 64 points adrift of driver's championship leader Rosberg, and 35 points behind Hamilton.
There are just seven races left in 2014.
But the double points on offer at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix means the contest remains alive.