Norris rocked by 'depressed' mental state in debut F1 season


Lando Norris has opened up on the mental struggles and the confidence crisis he endured during his debut season in F1 with McLaren.

Norris, who came within three laps of winning his first Grand Prix in Sochi two weeks ago, graduated to Formula 1 in 2019 on the back of an impressive climb through motorsport's junior categories.

While fully deserved, the teenager's promotion to the big time was a massive break, and beneath the facetious personality and burgeoning talent lingered a torment of doubts and fears.

Speaking on Monday on ITV's This Morning show, Norris addressed the disparity that sometimes exists between perception and reality regarding a young driver's poise or demeanor.

"I guess people, from when they just watch TV, don't realise many things that a driver goes through," explained the McLaren young gun.

"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.

"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."

Handling an F1 race weekend's often complex daily procedures and routines is a burden in itself, but when the prospect of failure creeps in and blunts one's confidence, the anguish eats away.

"Feeling like I don't know what's next?" he added. "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."

Norris said the support of his team and working with mental health charity and McLaren partner Mind eventually went a long way towards alleviating his woes.

"We partner with Mind, which have helped me massively, and also helped many other people in McLaren, but also just in the world in general,” he said.

"So speaking to McLaren, speaking to the people that are around me and my friends that I trust, and, also Mind, I'm in a much better place now. I’m much happier and I can enjoy everything I do."

The 21-year-old, who heads to Istanbul this week for the Turkish Grand Prix, also spoke of the positive energy and enjoyment he feels by speaking out on his mental trials and tribulations as a public personality and potentially helping others overcome a hurdle.

"The one thing that makes me happy is seeing other people smile and making them happy... I kind of realise that the more I can do that, the happier I am and the better it is," he said.

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