Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits his side has to “fix” its performance if it is to beat Formula 1 rivals Ferrari in the remaining five races of the 2019 season.

Since F1’s summer break, Ferrari has held a clear advantage over its chief rival, having won three of the last four races in Belgium, Italy and Singapore.

It looked set to claim a fourth successive victory for the first time since 2008 in Russia last time out until an badly-timed Virtual Safety Car period swung the race in Mercedes’ favour as Lewis Hamilton recorded the team’s first win since July’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Speaking after the Russian Grand Prix, Wolff conceded: “I think, in the moment of joy now, we need to be self-aware now - from pure speed, we didn’t have the performance this weekend.

“And there are many areas on which we need to work on to get our performance levels back.

“But equally the Sunday result shows you must never give up, even if you go into the race with a package that is not the quickest.

“If you do things right, all of those things, the drivers, the engineers and the management, then you can still win races. You’ve got to finish.

“First, we have to fix our performance,” he added. “You can still fight as hard as you can, but if it’s not a level playing field then you’ve got to step up.

“Until then, you just have to give it everything, and this is what we did.”

Asked whether he feels recent weekend performances have been down to Ferrari getting the most out of its car or Mercedes underachieving, Wolff replied: “I think the truth will be somewhere in the middle.

“They have, and continued to make big steps in straight-line performance and they have had a good car in Singapore, a very good car in Sochi, and if you put these dots together you are setting the benchmark.

“And this is what they did over the last two weekends. In the same time, we haven’t brought upgrades since a long time onto the car, and we haven’t managed things as optimum as you can manage.

“But also we’ve been a bit unlucky with some of our calls, and over the last few races we could have won some of these races but we didn’t, and we turned our bad luck into good luck here.”