Lando Norris reveals pressures he felt in debut season of Formula 1

McLaren star Lando Norris has opened up on how he dealt with the pressures of his first season in Formula 1, speaking to the High Performance Podcast.

Norris is embarking on his fourth year in the sport in 2022, which is pretty impressive given he is only 22-year-old.

He’s shown his talent in that time, though, with multiple podium finishes along the way.

When it all started for him at the Australian Grand Prix in 2019, though, he admits the pressures and struggles of his first year were certainly stark.

 Speaking to Jake Humphrey on the High Performance Podcast, Norris explained:

“I think all of it would already start at the first race. Just like we kind of spoke about the amount of people which are here working on everything, and like at that point I just feel like just another driver and I don’t feel like I’m way better than everyone else at this point or necessarily believe I’m much better than everyone else at this point.

“But like I’m on the grid, and I just think like so many people are watching me. I have so much to deliver for the whole team. And I am a new driver in Formula One. There are a lot of eyes on me. There are expectations. You don’t wanna let McLaren down, one of the most historic teams in Formula One. So like that already just puts that pressure on.

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“The media is one of the biggest things, how the media portrays you is one of the biggest things. So when things start to go wrong, when he makes a couple of mistakes and the media have a little dig at you and then fans and people on social media start to have a more of a dig at you, that’s when that self doubt that sometimes I would have, like that grows when people kind of just add on to that.

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2022 McLaren’s Lando Norris arrives before testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“I struggled a lot in like the final of years to get into Formula One. So Formula Three, Formula Two, having that belief of am I better than them? Am I the same as them? Am I a little bit worse? Am I good enough to be in Formula One? And that kind of stays even when I was in that first year of Formula One, am I good enough to go around Monaco and deliver that lap in Q3 when it comes? Or if I’m in the position to be on a podium or on top of the podium, am I there? Am I gonna be able to deliver it when it counts?

“But that’s okay, and I can live with that quite easily on when maybe I made those little mistakes and so on, but when people add to it and you see comments, that’s when you like start to feel a lot worse about yourself. And especially when I’m in my first year, it’s like, I know my parents have put so much effort into helping me get to there, the team have all the expectations, the whole world they’re watching. And then you just think like, if this goes wrong, it’s my first year in Formula One, if this guy’s wrong, what am I gonna do if I’m not in Formula One? ‘Cause this is all I’ve lived for my whole life.

“I wasn’t smartest guy in school and I struggled quite a bit in school. Like what am I going to fall on if all of this goes wrong?”

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2022 McLaren’s Lando Norris arrives before testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Natural concerns, you’d imagine, for a top athlete at the pinnacle of motorsport but, with the benefit of time, it’s safe to say Lando has more than proven himself in F1.

Hopefully, McLaren can develop their car in the coming weeks after a tough start to the 2022 season, and both Lando and Daniel Ricciardo can start competing for good points finishes.

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