I drove with heart and courage in 2016, says Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton missed out on the Formula One drivers' championship in 2016, but the Briton feels he drove with more heart and courage this past season. 

Hamilton was denied a third straight world championship despite winning 10 races and taking the chequered flag in the final four grands prix.

Mercedes team-mate and bitter rival Nico Rosberg followed Hamilton home in second in the last four races to secure his maiden world title, the German then promptly retiring from the sport.

"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.

"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. 

"[It's been] 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."

Pascal Wehrlein, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas have all been talked up as potential replacements for Rosberg as potential new team-mates for Hamilton.

But the three-time world champion added: "At the moment my focus hasn't gone to 2017 but it will do at some stage soon. I'm excited for that."