Lewis Hamilton said he enjoyed being able to “brush off the cobwebs” in his fight from the back of the field to fourth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver started from the pit lane in Sao Paulo after a crash in qualifying on Saturday.
He said: “I am really grateful for the opportunity to sharpen my tools, brush off the cobwebs, come up through the field and put everything to the test.
“It allowed me to shine in a different light and I am grateful for that.”
Hamilton clinched his fourth world title in Mexico two weeks ago and had said he wanted to win both remaining races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi but his crash at Turn Six in the first part of qualifying put paid to that.
“I feel like certain things happen for a reason,” he said. “The goal was to try to redeem myself but that one race does not redeem the mistake yesterday. So that next race is where I have to do it.
“It was definitely fun, it was hard work but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
Hamilton made such quick progress through the field in the early laps that he began to ask his team about the gap to leader Sebastian Vettel, his former title rival.
But he did not have time to catch him, even though he was only 5.5 seconds behind at the flag and finished behind Vettel, the other Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
“You always only ever want first and I could see first,” he said, “I just didn’t have enough time or tyres left. But this is racing and I did what I could.”
He said he believed, had he started at the front, he “would have won easily given the pace I had”.
However, he did benefit from a fresh engine that was fitted following the accident because it allowed Mercedes to give him more power and greater security over reliability in the remaining races without incurring a penalty.