Hamilton won the season-ending Grand Prix but knew that team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg would be crowned champion if he finished no lower than third in the UAE.
With that in mind, the British flyer drove deliberately slower than normal against his team's wishes while leading the race to try and back second-placed Rosberg into the cars directly behind him in the hope that one or two might pass the German.
That did not happen and Rosberg won the title on Sunday, to leave Hamilton wondering what might have been had his car been more reliable throughout 2016.
Of more immediate concern for his team, however, was the three-time world champion's actions and what, if anything, to do about his insubordination.
However, a spokesman for the team made it clear there would be no knee-jerk reaction.
"There's no time pressure," he said. "We'll let the whole thing settle and then figure out the way forward. For now, the focus is on savouring and celebrating the world championships."