Sebastian Vettel conceded that it will be difficult for him to pass his Mercedes rivals on the track in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.
But he still believes he and his Red Bull team can overcome them with superior pace and a strategy that takes advantage of any tyre-wear problems they may suffer.
The defending triple world champion said he and his team would run their own race from third on the grid with German Nico Rosberg on pole and Briton Lewis Hamilton starting second.
"There are a lot of laps here," he said. "But it is difficult to overtake. It always depends where you are, [but] on track it can be difficult.
"Hopefully Mercedes will struggle, but we cannot rely on that. Tyre wear for sure will play a role tomorrow, but we need to look after ourselves first. We will see what happens and then make the right calls.
"Our target tomorrow is to win."
The 25-year-old German also praised his team for their efforts in improving the car since Thursday.
"We saw on Thursday our performance was not great, I wasn't feeling the car and therefore today I was much happier," he said.
"Overall I was happy with my lap. On Thursday it did not look like we were anywhere close to the first two rows, so I am happy with the result and confident for tomorrow."