Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton won more races than reigning drivers champion and teammate Rosberg during the 2016 season Getty

Lewis Hamilton has said that he drove with 'more heart' this year than he ever did in previous seasons as he had to overcome various challenges on track.

The Briton relinquished his Formula One driver's title to teammate Nico Rosberg following a tight battle which came down to the final race of the season. The Mercedes driver was trailing the German driver for most of the season, and was only ahead in the standings for four races.

Hamilton had to overcome poor starts and engine reliability issues during the course of the season, something his teammate did not encounter, to maintain his place in the title race, and overall achieved more pole positions and win than Rosberg. The former Williams driver was more consistent in terms of his results which helped him edge ahead by five points after the final race.

The 31-year-old three-time F1 world champion admitted that there were 'uncomfortable situations' within the team during the 2016 season, but indicated that he was ready to move on and looked forward to another strong campaign in 2017.

"I probably drove with more heart this year," Hamilton said, as quoted by Autosport.

"[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," he added.

"I don't like to look back, but I always try to take the positives. 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," the former McLaren driver explained.

Hamilton will have a new teammate at Mercedes in 2017 after Rosberg made a shock announcement to retire from the sport just five days after lifting his maiden F1 world title. Toto Wolff admitted that the team have been compromised by the late decision, but they are weighing up the options before making a final decision with regards to the German's replacement.