Lando Norris has revealed to "feeling depressed a lot of the time" during his debut F1 season he claims "took its toll".
In an interview on ITV's This Morning programme, the McLaren driver now claims he is in a "much better place" after learning to open up on what he was going through in his rookie year in 2019.
At the time, the F1 world appeared to be at Norris' feet but he concedes he found it an intimidating place that was far from what will have been perceived on television.
“I guess people, from when they just watch TV, don't realise many things that a driver goes through,” he said.
“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."
Norris claims his insecurities led to him bombarding himself with questions and the feeling on any occasion that he was not worthy of his place in the sport.
“Feeling like I don’t know what’s next," added Norris. "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 was at least able to reach out for help and talk about the mental difficulties he was facing at the time.
McLaren has played a pro-active role in helping the 21-year-old, notably partnering with mental health charity Mind that has also been pivotal in providing Norris with the support needed to help rediscover the right path to wellbeing.
“There’s that point where you rely on them, you trust them and you do treat them like your family,” declared Norris.
“We’re partnered with Mind, which has helped me massively, and also helped many other people in McLaren but also just in the world in general.
“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 and I’m much happier and I can enjoy everything I do.”
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