Lewis Hamilton has revealed he has had to learn to stop torturing himself over his career setbacks in Formula 1.
Although six-time champion Hamilton has long been at the top of F1, this does not mean he is immune from feeling pressure, and the difficulties he has to face in coping with the mental aspect of professional sport.
"I think that every year you’re constantly evolving, you’re constantly understanding your body more, you’re constantly understanding the mental side more and more," said Hamilton, speaking at a Hewlett Packard event entitled 'Performance Under Pressure'.
"You’re noticing patterns within things and understanding how you can channel that towards your goal.
“Every year, for me, I look back on my season. None of them have been perfect. The places that you learn most are the ones that you’ve lost or you’ve failed, and it hurts so much.
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“But those are the times where you grow the most. I’m 35 and I just feel that each year I’m trying to do better.”
One incident Hamilton concedes he has been unable to forget and that still haunts him to this day was during the penultimate race of his 2007 rookie season in China when he beached his McLaren in a gravel trap on entry to the pits.
Although it ultimately proved costly in his bid for the title, Hamilton claims he has learned from it.
He added: “I lost the world championship pretty much in China, and it still makes me sick to this day.
“But I do think a lot of things are meant to happen. I think that was such a character-building moment for me.
“When I was younger, I was very hard on myself, way too hard on myself when I failed. I would almost punish myself, and it was a very unproductive thing, but I’d done it for so many years and it was really hard to get out of that headspace.
“Over the years, I’ve learnt to be able to find the joy, and the most important thing is to enjoy what you do, and to torture yourself just ends up to be negative.”
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