Lando Norris says Ferrari is “a large chunk ahead” of McLaren after its power unit upgrade but has vowed to continue the fight for third.
McLaren has been locked in a closely-fought battle with Ferrari over third place in the championship for the majority of the season.
McLaren currently holds the advantage but it stands at a slender 7.5 points.
Ferrari has introduced an update to its power unit in recent races, with Charles Leclerc receiving the new components in Russia, before Carlos Sainz’s car was equipped with the fresh parts in Turkey.
“At some races we have still been better and at some they have been better,” said Norris.
“As a trend they have been on the stronger end, especially now with the new power unit it has definitely shifted their pace into a stronger one.
“If you look at Turkey there are not one or two tenths ahead, they are fairly large chunk ahead of us.
“They definitely have a very competitive car, and a more competitive power unit now.
“It is going to make our life tougher but the aim is still to beat them, and will put everything into staying ahead of them in the championship. It is going to be difficult and we will fight hard to the end.”
Norris nonetheless emphasised that McLaren can still find further performance from its MCL35M despite the advanced nature of the season.
“Even race 23 or 22 you’re going to be learning things,” he said. “You’re trying different things on the car, you’re trying things for next season, you have tweaks for the car every now and then, so there is always something that you are learning.
“I am learning as a driver in the team, learning for the future. I do not think there is ever a period where we are not learning and finding out new things about the car.”