Sebastian Vettel admits it is “obvious” that Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team have done a better job than Ferrari so far this season.

Vettel looked well-placed to end Ferrari’s long wait for a world championship but a series of self-inflicted errors and missed opportunities have all but ended his title hopes, despite appearing to boast the best car on the grid for much of the 2018 campaign.

Instead, it is Hamilton who is on the verge of clinching a fifth drivers’ world championship - which the Briton could seal as early as this weekend’s United States Grand Prix should he outscore Vettel by eight points in Austin.

When asked if he accepts Hamilton and Mercedes have simply done a better job this year, Vettel replied: “So far yes. It’s pretty obvious, you just have to look at the points.

“Unfortunately some of the races didn’t go our way at all, and they were able to benefit from that, but they were very strong benefitting from that.

“It’s not just we step aside and they were there; I think they had to do their job and they did it to get the points.

“Obviously it hurt us, but well played to them. From our side obviously it wasn’t ideal, but that’s done now, that’s in the past. We can’t change it.

“I think some [races] I should’ve done better,” he added. “If you want to name one, then Hockenheim. Some that maybe we should’ve done better.

“Overall I think we just didn’t have enough races where we had the speed to dominate the weekend, put the car on pole and finish first. Unfortunately it didn’t happen often enough.”

Vettel, who clashed with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Japan, vowed to carry out an aggressive approach into the final four races of the season, adding Ferrari has to resort to taking risks if it is to have any chance of overhauling Mercedes.

“It’s very simple – we are quite some points behind. We focus on winning, then we see what the others are doing, so it’s quite straightforward, to be honest,” he explained.

“I always try to win. I think you have to be aggressive to win, and of course you need to find the right balance. You never try to do something silly or not to finish, because that way you can’t win.

“I know what it takes, I know what to do, so in that regard it’s fairly similar but for sure we know that we need to take a bit more risk because we are not in a position to manage the gap in the championship, because we don’t have a gap.”