Pedro de la Rosa says he has been impressed by the step forward his Sauber team took in the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.
De la Rosa qualified in 12th position for the Barcelona race, while his teammate Kamui Kobayashi made it to Q3 as the Swiss squad raised its game following a difficult start to the season.
Neither driver scored points, however, after a troubled first lap in which both made contact with rivals.
Nonetheless, the Spaniard was encouraged by the performance of the team.
"I was very impressed by the improvements to the car in Barcelona," de la Rosa said on Wednesday in Monaco. "We made a big step forward. On the other hand we were very disappointed because we didn't materialize that into points for the team.
"When you know you can finish in the points and you don't it's a missed opportunity, and that's how I felt leaving Barcelona. But the good thing is that the car is the same here and we'll have other opportunities. But for us it was a really big step."
He is also optimistic that things will start to work for him following a difficult start to the season.
"It's not an easy start, especially because, in five races, I've only finished once. But there are so many other races that I think luck will change. That's all I can hope for. I'm optimistic because if you look at where we are now compared to Bahrain...we should start finishing races competitively."
The Spaniard admitted he is keeping an open mind about his chances for the weekend, aware that the race in the principality could be a lottery.
"It's difficult to say," he said about his prospects for the weekend. "We improved a lot in Barcelona. On the one hand we have no straights here, which suits our package. On the other hand we have to see how we can adapt the suspension to this type of track. We will see tomorrow.
"I'm very open minded. You have to approach it that way. Whatever you pick up from Monaco is a bonus. If your whole season goes around a result in Monaco you are dead."
And despite the popularity of the Monaco Grand Prix, de la Rosa said the Monte Carlo circuit was far from his favorite.
"It's not one of my favorites, but it's a special one. You just have to make sure you get as many laps as possible on Thursday, get the rhythm, avoid the Armco as much as you can. But it's not a circuit I enjoy because when you've crashed here you start realizing this is not the right track for a racing driver.
"It's all very good when you come here for the first time. All racing drivers want to do Monaco, but after you've done it once then you say 'OK, I've had enough'."