“Toughen up and get through it” – Williams and Mercedes driver George Russell talks about the importance of mental health in a sport like Formula 1.
George Russell knows all about battling at the back of the grid. He also got a taste of doing so at the top of the grid after he got an opportunity for Mercedes last season in Sakhir. Speaking to inews.co.uk, Russell suggested the latter was tougher mentally than the former, as the expectations are higher.
“If I want to win races and championships, I can’t let those difficult moments dwell on me. I qualified second for the Sakhir Grand Prix and was disappointed. My best qualifying position until that point was P12, which I was absolutely ecstatic about, and then I’d just qualified second and was disappointed.
“That also taught me that fighting for championships and victories in the future will be mentally much tougher than what I had to endure finishing at the back of the grid for the last two years. So those experiences have been a blessing in disguise. I think in the long term, 10, 15 years, I’ll look back and say ‘I wouldn’t change any of those for the world’.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 6, 2020
George Russell working with sports psychologists
Formula 1 is a high-risk, high-intensity sport, and as such, the mental demands are extremely high. This has brought into focus the importance of sports psychologists and mental heath trainers, something the Brit enrolled for during the pre-season.
“I was never one of these people who thought mental health isn’t that important and you’re either mentally strong or mentally weak or whatever and you’ve just got to be strong about it if you’ve ever had a difficult moment, toughen up and get through it.
“You obviously have to, to a certain degree, but equally seeking that professional advice was great. I really enjoyed it and it’s been beneficial for me.”