Lewis Hamilton is hopeful his worst season in Formula 1 will act as springboard to greater success next season after the 2022-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 37-year-old Briton admitted he would be happy to see the back of this season but, despite its arduous nature, believes it could help him and his team in the future.
“I hope that the struggles this year really provide us with the tools and the strength to fight for many more championships moving forward.”
Mercedes’ hopes of taking the title fight to Verstappen and Red Bull were quashed early on after design errors lead to a heavily porpoising car. The team spent much of the early part of the year addressing that, which left them well off the pace until the latter stages.
“Ultimately, I think we started with a car that we didn’t want and we finished with a car that we didn’t want but we were basically stuck with it,” he said.
“We kept trundling away, kept working away at improving it but I think the fundamentals have still been there until the end, as you saw this weekend.
“It’s been more a team-building exercise this year and I’m very, very proud of everybody. While we’re not celebrating a world championship, we’ll be celebrating them still for their hard work and efforts.”