Hamilton battled self-doubt during difficult season for Mercedes
Seven-time Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton admits he doubted himself during a difficult season for Mercedes.
Hamilton, 38, finished on the podium six times this year but failed to win a single race as Max Verstappen romped to glory with 19 victories.
And the Brit has revealed he was left questioning his own ability, despite being the most successful driver the sport has ever seen.
He told BBC Sport: "Ultimately, when you have difficult seasons like this, there are always going to be moments when you're like, 'Is it me, or is it the car? Do you still have it? Has it gone?'
"Because you're missing that, you know... when the magic happens, when everything comes together, the car and you, and that spark, it's extraordinary. That's what you're in the search for."
Hamilton has now gone two seasons without a win and his cause was not helped this time round by battles with his own team.
The Mercedes engineers opted to stick with their unique car-design philosophy this year — against both their star driver's wishes and the wider trend along the pit lane.
And Hamilton knew as soon as he drove at Silverstone in February that a grave error had been made.
He added: "I remember it feeling exactly the same. That definitely was not a great feeling. I really had high hopes.
"In February, when we do a download of where the car is going, I was a little more apprehensive.
"The previous year, it was like, 'The car is amazing, it's unique, no one's going to have anything like it'. And then we get to the first test…
"So I was a little bit more cautious when I was listening.
"And then the car had all these problems. I just knew it was going to be a long year.
"That's why I was frustrated in February, because they hadn't made the changes I'd asked for."
Having agreed a two-year contract extension in August, Hamilton is confident things can only get better.
He said: "I do have faith that we will get there."