Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff claims Lewis Hamilton heads into the F1 season fuelled by the "adversity" of what unfolded in last year's controversial conclusion in Abu Dhabi.
After a near 10-week silence following the events of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit in which Hamilton missed out on an eighth F1 title to Red Bull's Max Verstappen, the 37-year-old returned to help unveil Mercedes' latest car, the W13 E Performance.
Although Hamilton says he went through "a difficult time" in the immediate aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and that he "lost faith in the system", he is now eager to push again for that eighth crown.
Asked whether the events of Abu Dhabi had stoked Hamilton to deliver even greater deeds, Wolff replied: "Certainly the disqualification in Brazil created the situation for him where the determination on doing the talking on the track was enormous.
“From then on, there was no looking back. Lewis destroyed the competition in every single race going forward, and also on the Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
"I think that adversity has always made him stronger, more resilient and determined, and this is the attitude I feel in him right now and also the mindset I see in the team.”
Hamilton "attack mode" for new season
Despite declaring Hamilton to be disillusioned after Abu Dhabi, and in mid-January declaring nothing more than "hope" the Briton would return for this season, Wolff now claims he was "never concerned" his driver might retire.
Wolff was happy to leave Hamilton in peace to come to terms with the perceived injustice he felt had taken place on the day in the Middle East.
"What he did was absolutely right, to take himself out of the microcosm of Formula 1 and step aside and blackout socially," added Wolff.
"Within the team, we knew that he needed to take the time to reflect on things and particularly to understand how he would come back in the best possible frame of mind.
"So on our side, there were no worries about him not coming back, and he has come back in a great mindset.
"He is positive, he is determined, and yet again, the adversity that was thrown at him will make him stronger. As he said, it's attack mode.”