Lando Norris believes McLaren "did a better job" than Ferrari in Qatar despite leaving the weekend with just two points to the Scuderia's 10.
McLaren has lost significant ground on Ferrari in the fight for third in the constructors' standing across the recent triple-header of races scoring just four points.
In contrast, Ferrari has registered 47 to pass McLaren and pull a lead of 39.5.
Conceding McLaren "have to accept we’ve made some mistakes" in recent races, Norris was left cursing his luck after a late puncture denied him a top-five finish in Qatar.
“Here we just did a better job than them," said Norris.
“The car was pretty strong. I have to give it to the team, we had a good car on race day, even better than I probably expected, so I was very happy about that and I could push a lot with the car.
“And we should have been P4. If we’d got everything right, maybe we could have challenged for P3, but with Fernando there, I wouldn’t have expected an easy overtake if I tried."
Although far from throwing in the towel in the duel, Norris reflected it will be difficult to close down Ferrari in the remaining two races.
“We should have had a lot more points than Ferrari and at least got something back," Norris added. "I know they’re a long way ahead, and even further away now.
“They deserve that when you’re there on performance but when you have days like this, there’s nothing you can do. It just really sucks.”