Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton 'drove with more heart' in 2016 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton believes he "drove with more heart" during the 2016 Formula 1 season than he had previously

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton 'drove with more heart' in 2016 F1 season

Chasing a third-consecutive world championship, Hamilton lost early ground to Mercedes F1 team-mate Nico Rosberg through a combination of unreliability and slow starts.

He trailed Rosberg by 43 points after five races, but fought back to take the championship lead six events later, only to then encounter more setbacks in the second half of the year, headlined by his Malaysian Grand Prix engine failure.

The top 10 drivers of Formula 1 in 2016

Hamilton eventually lost the title fight by five points, and feels the challenges shaped the way he drove.

"I probably drove with more heart this year," he said.

"[I mean] basically with a lot more challenges along the way, whether you start first, fall back to eighth, have to fight back through.

"I had to dig deep, deeper than other years where I've started first and disappeared.

"So it's taken a lot more heart and a lot more courage to face the challenges."

Hamilton finished the season with 10 victories to his name, including the 50th of his F1 career at Austin, and 12 pole positions.

The 31-year-old has lamented Mercedes' crew swap at the start of 2016, but classes the growth of the rapport with his new line-up among the positives of the season.

"I don't like to look back, but I always try to take the positives," he said.

"The negatives are things to learn from, which I have this year.

"I came out with more wins and more poles this year, which is great.

"An incredibly successful year for the team.

"Growth as a driver, but also the bond that I have built with my guys, is also something that really strengthens me going into next year.

"At the moment my focus hasn't gone to 2017 but it will do at some stage soon. I'm excited for that."

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