Lewis settled for fourth place at Istanbul Park after starting from the same position on the grid.
He could have challenged Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari for the final step on the podium but for a lengthy third stop.
After a slick tyre change on lap 20 had seen Lewis overtake the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who entered the pits ahead of him, things went wrong for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team 14 laps later on Hamilton’s next stop.
Two wheelnuts cross-threaded on the front right and there was a further delay as Massa then entered the pits, blocking Hamilton’s exit, Only quick thinking by chief mechanic Pete Vale, who operates the lollipop during all of McLaren pitstops, prevented Hamilton driving into Massa’s path.
“Considering the time I lost at my third stop, I think we recovered reasonably well,” said Hamilton afterwards.
“I don’t think that made a huge difference to our overall finishing position, and I was quite happy with the way the car behaved once we’d taken out some wing.”
The Tewin F1 hero added: “I got a pretty decent start but made a mistake on the opening lap and lost a lot of ground out of Turn Three when I was trying to go around Webber.
“That was the defining moment of my afternoon: if I hadn’t dropped behind Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson [Button], I think I could have got up to third and battled for second in the race.”
With Button’s three-stop strategy also backfiring, the McLaren team had to settle for 20 points from the race in Turkey.
Hamilton said: “We were definitely able to do better today – but to start fourth and sixth and finish fourth and sixth was a good recovery.”