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Russell says psychologist “was really important” in becoming stronger for 2021

George Russell at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. Credits: Williams Racing

George Russell revealed that seeking professional advice greatly helped him to stabilize his mental health coming into the 2021 season, saying it allowed him to “come back stronger.”

The young Williams driver endured, as would every other driver, many obstacles, challenges, and disheartening moments over his three-year career in Formula 1 thus far. After coming away from his first two seasons with Williams with no points, he finally collected some in 2020 when he replaced the COVID-ridden Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix. However, Russell admitted that the little success he was able to find over the past few seasons had a negative impact on him. The Briton revealed his conflict with his mental health and that he saw a psychologist to help him get back on track.

“I’m feeling stronger and stronger about this, the more time goes on and since I’ve also had these difficult moments and learned that talking about it to the right person… obviously talking to your family and friends is all well and good but getting professional advice was really important,” Russell said. “That allowed me to come back stronger, fitter, healthier than ever, and [I’ll] be able to perform off the back of it.

“I think so many people, men particularly, see psychology as a weakness, which is absolutely not the case. Your mind is the most powerful tool in your body,” he added.

“I was never one of these people who thought mental health is not that important and you’re either mentally strong or mentally weak or whatever and you just got to be strong about it if you’ve ever had a difficult moment, toughen up and get through it.”

When Russell participated with Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year, he was looking set to take his first victory as well as his first point in F1, before the win was cruelly snatched from him due to rare mistakes from Mercedes and tire drama. Russell was “gutted”, but he also saw that race as something to learn from.

“If I want to win races and championships, I can’t let those difficult moments dwell on me,” he explained. “I qualified second in the Sakhir Grand Prix. And I 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 I was disappointed.

“And that also taught me that fighting for championships and victories in the future is going to 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 I’ll say, ‘I wouldn’t change any of those for the world.”

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