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Pierre Gasly

Button thinks Gasly's comeback proves F1 is a mental game

Jenson Button believes that every driver on the Formula 1 grid is extremely talented, but that they can only showcase this if their head is in the right place.

Gasly Baku
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Jenson Button believes that succeeding in F1 is a mental game, and that the comeback of Pierre Gasly highlights just how much being in the right headspace can impact performance.

Gasly suffered a huge setback in 2019 when he was dropped by Red Bull's main team before even completing his first season with them, having struggled to match the pace of teammate Max Verstappen. The Frenchman was demoted back down to the junior squad, but since then has gone from strength to strength and appears to be establishing himself as a team leader at AlphaTauri.

Button thinks that this is all down to the fact that Gasly is now mentally in a better place with a good support network around him.

"Formula 1 is a mental game," Button told the High Performance podcast. "Pretty much every guy on the grid is super talented, it's just if their head is in the right space.

"Pierre Gasly jumps in a Red Bull, gets annihilated in a Red Bull. Jumps back in an AlphaTauri and look at him. He's outperforming so many of these top drivers on the grid because his head's in the right place.

"And the people around him are helping him achieve because they're putting him in that right headspace."

Button understands how this aspect of being a racing driver can affect performance, having struggled himself with being in the right headspace whilst driving for the Benetton/Renault team in 2001 and 2002.

"I was terrible if I had a bad weekend," the former World Champion explained. "I wouldn't go through the process of working out why it was bad.

"It would just live with me for days, and that was a big issue for me in my earlier career, sort of 2001 and 2002, and that's why I struggled at Benetton so much.

"I had a boss like Flavio Briatore that would pick every fall and tell the world of your issues, and wouldn't be there to help you through them.

"So [after a] Sunday, bad weekend, I would think about that race all the way up until the next race, and that really hurt me, and it just got worse and worse and worse. I had to really work on [that]."

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