Sebastian Vettel says he would be surprised if he was able to race his way past McLaren and Ferrari to repeat his 2011 Italian Grand Prix victory on Sunday.
The World Champion qualified sixth on the grid (but will start fifth thanks to Paul di Resta's penalty) and though Vettel expects his pace to be stronger in the race than it has been so far this weekend, he is far from convinced he can catch some rivals ahead of him.
"I think it will be a pretty difficult race," said Vettel. "In terms of strategy I think everyone is looking at the same thing. Therefore it is difficult to do something, or try something different.
"In terms of pace we should be alright in the race but I think we cannot expect at this stage to race McLaren and Ferrari. They have just been too quick all weekend, so if we do then it will be a surprise. And if we do it will be a welcome surprise."
Vettel added that Red Bull's comparatively poor pace through practice and qualifying at Monza was still undiagnosed but hinted that it may track-specific.
"I think it is a different story here compared to other races," he said. "It's not a big secret, we are not quick enough on the straights and equally we are not quick enough in the corners, so if you combine the two then it is difficult to be fastest.
"The race pace should be a little bit better," he added. "It's difficult to know what is going to happen, but I think since yesterday we made progress and if anything our most competitive run was the long run yesterday so we should be in better shape. But surely we are not expecting to win. I think the pace was not there at any time this weekend so yeah I am looking forward to having a good car in the race, but it is difficult to know what we can do."