Hamilton on how the COVID-19 crisis affected his mental health

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says there have been times during the 2020 season when “just to keep your head above water” was “a challenge”.

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the 2020 Formula 1 season. Not only was it delayed and shortened, but Formula 1 also imposed strict rules on drivers and team personnel. To protect the Formula 1 “bubble” against COVID-19 everyone involved had to severely limit their social contacts, which sometime took a mental toll on all involved.

“There’s been times, just to keep your head above water, it’s definitely been a challenge,” explained Hamilon in an interview with BBC.

“But I know it’s the same for so many people around the world.

“I’ve had lots of different things to focus on. I’ve managed to find myself very comfortable on my own, I’ve managed to find peace and being centred and just being happy.

“I’m reading more and trying different meditation. Yoga is not something I particularly enjoy – my dad’s more flexible than me, which frustrates me! No amount of stretching seems to change too much.

“I’ve read some self-help books, which have raised points that I’ve not noticed [previously] in terms of patterns about my energy levels, my reactions to things.

“I’m just trying to understand that more, understand myself more and trying to improve on areas, because I’m far from perfect.

“But there’s been a lot of improvement in terms of my everyday life and my use of energy and my time management.”

“And I’ve been able to focus on weaknesses in training. Last year the racing was strong, but qualifying wasn’t so great.

“I came into this season trying to make sure I kept the strengths but worked on the weaknesses. But in improving in qualifying, I have managed to improve the racing. I was not expecting that.”

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The Briton says his goal now is to try and maintain his high level of performance.

“I don’t know whether it can get any better. The racing, for example, is super-strong. There are still elements that could be better but not everything is easy to improve on.

“It’s not like I am new to this. I know what I need to do to get myself in the right headspace, and physically in the right place also.

“I don’t really see keeping consistency being an issue, but it is much smaller increments.”

In 2020 the seven-time champion also started focusing more on his passions outside of Formula 1.

“You’re starting to see things, glimpses of things that will be a part of my future, I think. The racing is all good and everything, but there’s a lot of issues and there’s a lot of things to do.

“I want to try and help people because there are a lot of great people out there doing great things, so that’s my goal,” concluded Hamilton.

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