Toto Wolff has claimed Mercedes 'annus horribilis' was an inevitability given the team's historic years of success.
The Silver Arrows missed out on the constructors' title for the first time since 2013 after a slow start to the year was compounded by struggles with both aerodynamic porpoising and mechanical bouncing phenomena.
The final upgrade of the season which was delivered in Austin pushed Mercedes back into contention for race wins, with George Russell delivering in Brazil.
Asked if he believed 2022 was his "annus horribilis", team principal Wolff told the 'Beyond the Grid' podcast: “In terms of performance, you can say that after eight consecutive constructors’ titles, coming out of the blocks and being half-a-second off - and I’m being rather on the optimistic side here - was certainly something you needed to get used to.
“We talked about it these last eight years, about how we would react to it if that were to happen. How would we cope with losing? We knew that inevitably, one day, it was going to happen, and here we are.
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“But I am particularly proud of the team, how we have recovered through the season because it wasn’t a one-race blip."
The Spanish Grand Prix in May, when Mercedes challenged Red Bull and Ferrari, proved to be a false dawn when the team's previous struggles notably reappeared in Azerbaijan.
"It wasn’t that there was a clear trajectory that was only going up," added Wolff.
"We had good races and then we fell back and at the end, we are much closer to our rivals, the front-running cars, than we were at the beginning of the season.”