Lewis Hamilton admits there was a "feeling of negative energy" towards him after last season's final race at Abu Dhabi when the Briton ignored team orders on the way to his 10thwin of the season.
The three-time world champion was accused of causing anarchy within the team with Toto Wolff admitting in the aftermath that he could be penalised. Hamilton relinquished the drivers' title despite the win and feels that he did not do anything wrong by backing his teammate and bringing the other cars into the race.
There were talks about a severe penalty for the British driver after he ignored team orders, but Nico Rosberg's retirement just five days later saw the team's stance change as they were left in the lurch to find a suitable replacement. Wolff admitted the team orders were a mistake and Hamilton made it clear that they have moved on from the incident and are now back focused on reclaiming the title in 2017.
"That is an interesting one – unfortunately with no particularly interesting answer: it's just the way it is – you have to play the game. That last race was tough and I feel morally in my heart that I did what I needed to do - I never had the feeling that I stepped over the line," Hamilton told Formula One's official site, with regards to the final race and the team berating him for not following orders.
"But then things are said and there was that feeling of negative energy towards me - but the team had won, so you had to be happy for the team. Yes, it definitely was tough, but you suck it up and you move forward. I try to be at the factory more often now and give them the feeling that yes, they have lost a driver, but they have another driver who cares," the Briton explained.
The 32-year-old will enter his tenth season in F1 in 2017 and along the way – apart from his three-world titles – has also built a strong image globally. He is famous on and off the track and is a regular on the red carpet at many high profile events across the world.
Hamilton does not see his fame off the track as a drawback after indicating that he does not intend to return to the paddock to work in F1 once he hangs up his helmet. The Briton said he plans to do "something very different".
"No, not really. I think it can only be a good thing for me. As long as I deliver and people recognize me as much in the car as on the red carpet then I still have something when I stop racing," Hamilton said about being famous away from the world of F1.
"Pretty much most drivers are recognized in the car, but as soon as they are on the red carpet nobody knows the hell who they are. That's why many end up in the paddock again - and I have plans to do something very different!"