The newly-crowned seven-time world champion, who was back in action after recovering from a bout of Covid-19 that saw him miss last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, said he had felt “massively” affected by his illness.
“You can’t win them all,” he said, having come home third behind triumphant Dutchman Max Versappen of Red Bull and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
“And, considering the last couple of weeks that I have had, I am really genuinely happy with the weekend.
“I was not 100 per cent. It was not as good as we would have liked, but congratulations to Max. It was such a really hard race for me physically.
“All year, physically, I have been fine, but today I definitely wasn’t. I am just glad it’s over.
“A big thank you to the team for their continued support – it’s still a fantastic result to get two podium finishes.”
Hamilton added that contracting coronavirus had been a factor in his performance even as he claimed a record-increasing 165th podium finish and his seventh in successive years at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“Physically? Massively,” he said, when asked directly about how much Covid-19 had hit him.
“I don’t think I have ever been so blown, but look on the bright side – I made it through and I didn’t even think I would be here, last week.
“Now, I am looking forward to recovering, getting back into training and back to where I know I should be. I hope and pray that in 2022, the cars are better to follow.
“I don’t know if it was a boring race to watch, but once you get within two seconds you are sliding around and in turbulence the whole time. And, of course, we need good tyres!”
In a later interview, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 that he felt “destroyed” by the coronavirus.
“Covid is not a joke and people all over the world are out there losing their lives – it should not be treated that way. It’s really tough.
“I find it very strange to see world leaders laughing it off because it’s not funny.”