Lando Norris has opened up about some of the struggles he faced during his rookie Formula 1 season and how he was forced to mask his problems.
In partnership with mental health charity partner Mind, and to mark International Men's Day, a day which aims to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health, Norris admitted the jokey personality for which he has become renowned was in part accentuated to cover internal fears.
"During my first season racing in Formula 1, I might have looked like the new kid on the block full of confidence and enthusiasm but that really wasn’t the case," wrote Norris.
"I covered up the fact that I was struggling a lot with nerves and anxiety. Despite making it to F1, something I had dreamt of ever since I began racing, I found myself questioning my own self-belief: worrying if I had what it took, comparing myself with my team-mate and other drivers.
"It screws with your head. It’s tough to deal with and I'm sure many other drivers have struggled with it in the past.
"But in sport, because no one wants to give the opposition an edge or show any weakness, we don’t talk about mental health as much as we should – and we really should."
Norris, who worked with a mind coach until the end of 2019, explained he had made a concerted effort throughout the spring lockdown to keep in contact with key people to prevent the issues of his rookie year hampering his sophomore efforts.
"Although we were physically apart for most of the winter and, of course, during lockdown, I spent a lot of time talking to this core group of people to try to overcome the nerves and anxiety I felt, something which risked affecting my second year in F1," he added.
"By talking things through with them, it helped me to come into this season feeling much better about myself – more confident, more positive.
"It really highlights just how powerful talking to someone can be and the importance of having people around you that you can trust and rely on."
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