Norris opens up on mental health gains
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 13th October, 2021 - 10:37am
Lando Norris suggests he would not have coped with the highs and lows of his 2021 Formula 1 season during his first year in the sport.
The McLaren driver recorded his first F1 pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, and came within a handful of laps of winning the race before falling to seventh.
That followed a second place finish to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Italy.
While disappointed to have missed out on his maiden victory, Norris explained he’s been able to find the positives in those performances.
“How would I have coped with the last few races if I was me two years ago, I think is a very difficult one to answer,” he said.
“I think they would have been two very good things you know, more because at that point, you would have taken the positives a lot more than maybe the negatives.
“The level I feel like I’ve got to now, and a much better level, then in a way there’s also less things – still plenty of things for me to improve on – but there’s less things and therefore you start to see the glass the opposite way and you start to see more than the negatives as well.
“But I think I just don’t let it affect me as much now as what I did back then, both good things and bad things.
“I think that’s a good thing in a way, and it’s helped me [be] a lot more balanced and mentally in a much better place.”
Norris has proved one of the standout performers of the season, having sat third in the drivers’ championship on three separate occasions.
That’s seen him record three third place finishes and that second to Ricciardo in Monza.
It’s by far the strongest of his three season in F1, helped by more competitive machinery, but maximised by the 23-year-old on track.
McLaren supports mental health charity Mind:, and until the start of last season Norris worked with a mind coach.
He’s since felt able to go it alone, writing in a blog for the team’s website last November that he “felt confident enough to take more responsibility for my own mental health.”
In Turkey last weekend, he expanded on that statement.
“They’re like my family, in a way,” he said of his relationship with the team and Mind:.
“I joined them at that good age where they’ve been able to help me become the person I am now – it’s not like I’ve just joined them and I’m there, they’ve helped me become a bunch better person.
“Being able to speak to the right people, having Mind: as well help us in the background with many things, for me, it’s been crucial to even have the performance I have on track nowadays.
“Sometimes an answer can be a lot more simple than you think,” he added.
“Just having the right people around you all the time can be crucial.
“Having those good mates that you have, and I grew up with for many years, just spending more time with them, getting rid of the people you maybe don’t enjoy spending so much time with, it can be those such simple things which can make a big difference in life.
“That’s kind of almost the biggest thing which has helped me – just being around the people which are always there to help me.”
Norris finished seventh in Turkey after a tough weekend for McLaren, team-mate Ricciardo trailing home 13th after struggling with tyres in the latter stages.
The Brit sits fourth in the drivers’ championship with 145 points, 10 clear of Sergio Perez and 32 down on race winner Valtteri Bottas.
Formula 1 heads next to the United States on October 22-24.