Lewis Hamilton says it felt like there was a "ghost" in the Mercedes Formula 1 car at times in 2022, thanks to the endless setbacks the team faced after making progress.
After struggling to overcome early-season porpoising problems, Mercedes faced a number of false dawns with its W13 when it appeared that updates had resolved the majority of their issues.
Encouraging weekends in Spain, Silverstone and Hungary were all followed by disappointments, prior to the squad finally getting to grip with things around the time of the United States Grand Prix.
In an interview published on the Mercedes website on Thursday reflecting on the 2022 campaign, Hamilton said it felt that something unexplained was going on thanks to this rollercoaster form.
"The first big step was Barcelona, that was our first hint of there being more potential in the car," he said.
"It turned out to be a bit of a false positive; the car was good there but then the races afterwards were difficult. It was like a ghost was in the car and it kept coming back.
"But then there was France and that felt like a good step with our first double podium of the season. And then there was Austin, too, with the update we had working well."
Hamilton reckoned, however, that Mercedes deserved some praise for continuing to dig deep to find answers despite the many setbacks,
"I always knew that we could do it," he said. "I never doubted that we would get there in the end, but there was lots of trial and error, and so much failure this year.
"There were times we brought upgrades and they didn't work, and times we tried different things and it didn't work. I tried so many things and failed so many times but through that you learn and grow.
"That's what it's been about this year. It's been about failure, breaking down egos, strengthening our relationships, and strengthening our communications. From that perspective it's been really empowering."
While there were competitive struggles on track throughout the season, and Hamilton did not win a race for the first time in his career, he still thinks there were positives to take from the experience.
"It's been a very hard year for everyone," he said. "For me, it's been challenging in ways that I wasn't expecting, but I am incredibly grateful for that. I have felt more growth this year as a man, in terms of internal strength, than I have in many other years."
He also praised the fans for continuing to stick with him.
"I think this has been the greatest year in my career in terms of fan support," he said.
"There has been so much love and that's so appreciated in a time where the world is going through a really tough period.
"To see everyone excited for our sport, weekend in, weekend out, is so good. It's the most excited I've seen the fans and the most passionate, so the support feels like it is magnified. I felt like we've been on a journey together more than ever before."