Lando Norris has thanked his “good friends” for getting him through his challenges after recently revealing how he struggled with mental health issues two years ago in the first season of his F1 career.
Norris is part of a new generation of F1 drivers that includes fellow Brits George Russell and Alex Albon, as well as Ferrari's Monégasque driver Charles Leclerc.
The quartet has developed a good camaraderie both on and off the track, notably having fun together online during lockdown last year.
Highlighting his friendships, not just those in F1, for getting him through 2019, he said: “Almost the biggest thing that has helped me is just being around the people who are always there to help me rather than people who are just there because they want to be friends.
“Having those good mates that I grew up with for many years, spending more time with them, getting rid of the people who you maybe don’t enjoy spending so much time with, those simple things can make a big difference in life and make you see in a very different way and enjoy it a lot more."
Norris, who gave a revealing interview on the This Morning programme in the UK earlier this month, explained also how his McLaren team and the charity Mind have helped him "a massive amount" on his journey.
“They have always been there for me since day one," added Norris. "They are like my family in a way. I joined at a good age where they have been able to help me become the person I am.
“It’s not like I just joined them and I am there, they have helped me become a much better person. You have to speak to the right people. Having Mind helps us in the background with many things.
“For me, it has been crucial, even for the performance I have on track these days. Sometimes an answer can be a lot more simple than you think. Just having the right people around you all the time can be crucial.”
Norris now better placed to cope with challenges
Norris faced one of the most heart-breaking moments of his career in Russia recently when he led from pole and held off pressure from Lewis Hamilton but lost out with a gamble to stay on slick tyres as rain fell at the end of the race.
The previous race in Italy was hard to take, too, as he had to follow his McLaren team-mate Daniel Ricciardo home to secure the team a one-two finish rather than challenge for the win.
Asked how his former self of two years ago would have coped with those two races, Norris replied: “That is a very difficult one to answer. At the level I feel I have got to now, [I am at] a much better level.
“There are plenty of things for me to improve on, but in a way, there are fewer things and therefore you start to see the glass a different way and you start to see more the negatives as well.
“But I think I don’t let it affect me as much now as I did back then, both good things and bad things, and I think that’s a good thing. It has made me a lot more balanced, and mentally I am in a much better place.”