Lando Norris opens up on mental health struggles in F1 career
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A brave Lando Norris has opened up on how he has battled his mental health struggles during his time as a Formula One driver, as well as revealing how seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has supported him.
The 21-year-old suffered heartbreak last week in Sochi at the Russian Grand Prix, as the youngster found himself just minutes away from his first ever Formula One win before adverse weather conditions hit.
As a result, the torrential rain caused all sorts of issues for Norris – who was still operating with slick tyres – resulting in him sliding across the course and down the leaderboard to a disappointing seventh-place finish.
This allowed Hamilton to swoop in for victory, in an all-important win that moved the F1 one great two points clear of second place Max Verstappen in the driver standings.
Despite their contrasting emotions Norris has since revealed that eventual winner Hamilton consoled him after his agonising finish.
The youngster told This Morning on ITV: “Lewis did [consoled me]. Lewis was the one who effectively took the race away from me.
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“Coming from a guy like Lewis, he is the guy I watched growing up and it’s Lewis, seven-time world champion. So, to hear from what he had to say as he has been through many scenarios, probably even worse in some cases.
“But in my case I guess it feels worse because it’s that first win you really want to get, but many drivers said I did a good job and my time will come, which I’ve heard a lot off but when it comes from someone you’ve looked up to and has been through it, it definitely means that bit more.”
As well as discussing his heartbreak in Russia, the 21-year-old delved deeper into his mental health battles in a remarkable display of courage from the McLaren youngster.
Norris explained how drivers go through extremely difficult times themselves despite how it may look to fans on TV, as he added: “I guess people, from when they just watch TV, don’t realise many things that a driver goes through.
“And it’s a bit of shame, but there are more programmes now where you get to see what the driver is like behind the scenes, and the amount of pressure and stress that they have to cope with.”
The Englishman found himself at the centre stage of world sport at the tender age of just 19, which understandably took its toll: “Especially at my age, coming into Formula 1 at 19, there’s a lot of eyes on you. So, dealing with all these kinds of things, took its toll on me.”
In spite of being tipped as one of the sport’s rising stars, Norris does also worry about his future in the sport from time to time and unsurprisingly he revealed this aspect of the job has also eaten away at his mental health.
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He commented: “[It was] feeling like I don’t know what’s next? If this goes wrong, if I don’t go out in the next session and perform, what’s going to happen?
“What’s the outcome of all of this? Am I going to be in Formula 1 next year, if I’m not? What am I going to do because I’m not really good at many other things in life?
“So, just all of that, and then just feeling depressed a lot of the time that if I have a bad weekend, I just think I’m not good enough and things like that.
“When they start adding up over the season, and then the social media side of it all, that can just really start to hurt you.”
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