The seven-time world champion stressed he has “no interest in the simulator” and does “maybe 20 laps a year” after he claimed his 100th pole position in F1 at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona earlier this year.

But after last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Mercedes head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin revealed that Hamilton had been working on the team’s simulator to help optimise their car’s set-up.

“Lewis, before he came here, was doing a lot of work in the driver-in-loop simulator and it looked like an interesting direction,” Shovlin said.

"An important part of this year for us is adapting well to every track and we do need to be a bit brave and original with set-up direction to do that.”

Hamilton was back in Mercedes’ simulator again this week and shared an image of it on social media on Wednesday.

The Briton explained his change of approach ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, citing Mercedes’ dip in form in recent races.

Since Hamilton’s last victory in Spain, Mercedes has gone on to suffer four consecutive defeats to Red Bull and fallen 40 points behind in the constructors’ championship, while Hamilton faces an 18-point deficit to championship leader Max Verstappen.

“I can’t say that I am necessarily enjoying it,” Hamilton joked when asked about his simulator duties.

“Particularly after those few difficult races that we had, I went in to try and see if there's any way I can try and help the team be better prepared.

“I think there’s been a couple of good things from it but not life-changing. I will continue to work with Anthony [Davidson] still and we have got drivers on there that do a lot of work.

“Just working on the processes on how we communicate with them on their programme so we are getting the right things tested. I think overall it’s been positive.”

Earlier this week, Mercedes confirmed that it will introduce performance upgrades on its 2021 car despite team principal Toto Wolff saying after the Styrian Grand Prix that the team had switched focus onto next year.

Hamilton - who called for “an upgrade of some sort” to close the gap to Red Bull after being powerless to stop Verstappen from taking a dominant victory last weekend - admitted he was aware of Mercedes’ plan to bring updates.

“I knew that we had that upgrade coming,” he said. “At the end of the day, everyone is working absolutely flat out.

“We are learning more and more about this car, we are discovering where we need to push more and extract more, and I have all the confidence in the team that we will do over the course of time.”

While Hamilton conceded Red Bull has now taken a step ahead of Mercedes in the title race, he insisted he remains optimistic about his chances of winning an unprecedented eighth world championship this year.

“They’ve done a great job in these last four races,” Hamilton said.

“It’s been really difficult for us from Monaco, which obviously was a bit of a disaster and then the same for Baku, better at France and better last weekend - but they have taken a step ahead of us and so we are just working as hard as we can to see if there’s a way we can close that gap.

“We’re not even halfway through the season so I am still fighting and chasing for this title.”

Asked if he has any concerns about the championship situation, Hamilton replied: “I don’t really find myself being concerned as such. We are all pushing as much as we can, we would love to have more pace at the moment to be able to really challenge, not only in qualifying but in the race.

“They’re continuing to take steps forward but I can’t get tied up and get into that negative bubble of worrying.

“All I do right now is that I am trying to put all the energy into being the best prepared, helping the engineers be best prepared, lots of great conversations and this is the time we come together and we unite and we work as hard as we can to rectify whatever issues we have.

"That’s what we do, that’s why we’re world champions and I have confidence in the team that we can do that.”