Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes unrelenting consistency during its hunt of Ferrari during the 2017 Formula 1 World Champion is the pressure which derailed the Italian team’s hopes of a first world title in a decade.

The newly-crowned four-time F1 world champion concedes Ferrari had the faster package at the start of the season while Mercedes struggled with its ‘diva’ car with varying success in the opening rounds.

But as the German manufacturer got on top of its issues, Hamilton’s turn of form during the mid-season followed which included six wins in the space of eight races to see the British driver overturn Sebastian Vettel’s points lead and clinch the world crown in Mexico with two races to spare.

Hamilton says Mercedes ability to constantly keep Ferrari under pressure at every race forced errors from the Italian squad, notably in Azerbaijan and Singapore, which proved to be decisive in the championship fight.

“We’ve won the championship and we were more consistent, we didn’t have failures and made less mistakes, but I think Ferrari had a very good season,” Hamilton said. “If you look at the beginning of the season, the first half of the season they were in the lead.

“That wasn’t by sheer luck that was because they’ve had a fantastic car and did a great job. When you apply the pressure it’s easier to buckle towards the end of the year.

“I think next year they’re going to come very, very strong. I anticipate Renault to bring a better power unit next year and I hope Red Bull are going to be there with us next year as well.”

Hamilton also expects Vettel to work on his weak points during the winter and come back sharper in 2018 which he accepts he must also do to defend his F1 world title.

“Whatever weaknesses Sebastian had or feels he had or doesn’t think he had he’ll work on those over the winter,” he said. “No one is perfect, even I have things I need to work on.

“So I have to expect that he’s going to raise the bar next year, and I got to make sure I do the same. Otherwise the result will be different next year.”