The two teams arrived in Turkey both trailing Renault by a single point, but following a chaotic weekend at Istanbul Park, Racing Point holds a five-point lead over McLaren and is 18 clear of the French manufacturer.
Boss Andreas Seidl has maintained across the season McLaren has the fifth fastest car but that its performances have been boosted by the team maximising its opportunities.
While this has not been the case recently, McLaren returned to its best in Istanbul to secure a double-points finish from low grid positions, with Norris calling for the team to build on that performance in the remaining three grands prix in the Middle East.
"We just haven’t had a clean run of races," said Norris. "It is something we did have at the beginning of the season and that’s why we looked so strong, because we had both of us up there every time we could.
"We were maximising it where other teams were not doing that so much, with one good car and another not quite so good.
"But lately all the other teams have been doing good jobs and we’ve been the ones, not making mistakes. We’ve been a bit more unlucky and in unfortunate positions that we haven’t been able to translate into looking as good and scoring as many points as we’d like."
Norris and Sainz have been closely matched across the year, with a point separating the pair as the end of the season approaches.
Putting aside their personal battle, Sainz said he agreed with Norris' assessment of what needs to be done to end the campaign on a high.
"We had a tricky time at the Nürburgring and in Russia but since we have understood our package a bit better we have got on top of the little issues we were having and are a bit more confident with what we have," said Sainz.
"We know at some tracks we are a couple of tenths slower than the Renault and the Racing Points but we can get that back in the race. There are other tracks, like Portimão, where we were the same or a bit ahead.
"But I’d say on average, over the last three, four races we are a tiny bit behind on pure race pace and pure qualifying pace, but it’s still not enough to discount us from the battle obviously."
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