For the first time in his F1 career, Hamilton failed to win a race or claim a pole position as he recorded his worst-ever position in the driver standings after finishing sixth, 35 points and two places adrift of Mercedes teammate George Russell.
Mercedes’ W13 challenger was plagued by porpoising and bouncing issues early in the year and only looked genuinely competitive at a handful of races as the team endured their most challenging – and least successful – F1 season since 2013.
And seven-time world champion Hamilton admitted Mercedes’ tough season opened his eyes to the difficulties faced by several teams further down the grid.
“I felt this real appreciation for all these other teams that are trying to do the same thing, with the same intentions, trying to be better and fighting for something,” Hamilton told C4.
“Going through difficult times because they’ve built a car that’s clearly not capable of fighting at the front. It’s pretty cool to be a part of and to witness.”
Hamilton also said he hopes McLaren, with whom he made his F1 debut in 2007 and raced for until 2012 before making the switch to Mercedes, can get back to fighting at the front sooner rather than later.
“I like looking at McLaren, I always check where they are because that was where I started and I’m always wishing them well even though they’re competitors of mine,” he said.
“There’ll be days where they’re down and I feel sad for them because, again, that’s where I first did my simulation rounds, drove my car for the first time.
“I kinda want them to do well so I hope they have a better year next year.”