Lewis Hamilton has revealed how the first winless season of his F1 career yielded a "more powerful" feeling than he had expected.
The seven-time champion's unique record of scoring a pole position and a race win in each year of his 16-season F1 stay was halted when the chequered flag fell in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton, however, had always maintained this statistic was of little consequence to him.
Speaking before George Russell scored Mercedes' only success of the year in Brazil, Hamilton said: “There have been so many scenarios like that this year where I think that honestly, the journey has been the most important part and this year, we are winners this year, to me.
“Obviously, not in how it is seen outside in terms of numbers, but I feel everyone in the team this year is a winner.
“They’ve all dug so deep, they’ve given absolutely everything. Nobody has given up and everyone has overcome whatever emotions they have had of not being at the forefront. I’m really proud of everybody.
“So that, for me, is even more powerful than winning every single race.”
Asked if he had found it difficult not to get frustrated with a difficult car, Hamilton added: “No, because honestly, I’ve felt so many times throughout the year, there have been so many experiences where I’ve felt like we’ve won.
“Getting a fourth place, a fifth place or finally getting that podium, in those moments, we were all so elated that it almost felt like a win."