After a wretched recent run, Hamilton finally had a smile back on his face following Sunday's United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished fourth, and although 27 seconds behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who set a new Formula One record of eight successive wins in one season, it was his best result since third in Belgium in August.
With team-mate Nico Rosberg ninth, Mercedes now have a 15-point gap to Ferrari in the all-important fight for second in the constructors' championship with one race remaining in Brazil on Sunday.
Explaining why being Red Bull's bridesmaid is so crucial, Hamilton said: "I'm looking forward to the winter, but we've still a job to do.
"It will be such a good feeling if we can finish ahead of Ferrari, that would be huge for the team, and that's what we are working towards.
"To be the second best over the whole season compared to Red Bull, to leapfrog Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus (Mercedes were fifth last year) would be great for the guys back at the factory.
"It's not that they worked any less the previous years, it's just they weren't seeing the results they deserved.
"So to now finally see the results is big for them, and hopefully that will help in the development for next year."
Although Hamilton did not have the car to win the race, compared to his lack of performance in Abu Dhabi a fortnight previously, there was a "night-and-day difference".
Preparing for the event at the Circuit of the Americas, in stripping down the car the team discovered two cracks in the chassis, leading to a change and ultimately an improvement.
"I'm really, really happy. I feel like I won the race!" laughed the 28-year-old.
"For once I went forwards (after starting fifth). It was a good feeling to get a good start and then be able to look after the tyres the way I needed to.
"The tyres didn't die at the end. If I'd have lost out to Fernando (Alonso who was fifth), I would have let the team down and I didn't want to do that.
"So it was good to have an answer to the guys who were pushing from behind, and that's because there was a massive difference in the car.
"I'm pretty sure the damage we had in the last race is what made our race so bad, so it was nice to have a better car.
"We didn't have the pace of the Lotus (of Romain Grosjean) and the Red Bulls, but we had the pace over the others."