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George Russell

Russell explains challenge of dealing with 'ruthless' social media

George Russell has opened up about how he deals with the challenges that being an F1 driver can pose to his mental health.

Russell Mexico
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has explained how he deals with the "ruthless" nature of social media in the public eye.

The Mercedes driver admits that there are various mental health challenges posed by being an F1 driver, but finds the perceptions that people share online to be particularly difficult.

"[This job] absolutely challenges your mental health so much," Russell told The High Performance Podcast.

"You've got to be so resilient to the negativity in this world, whether it's the public perception, whether it's social media, whether it's the pressures of the team or even the pressures of yourself.

"But I think the biggest one, probably, for me, is that public perception and social media side, which is a tough one, and I think that's also relatable to people who aren't in the spotlight, because social media is a pretty ruthless platform."

How Russell deals with social media

In terms of how he manages this, Russell said: "Just don't read comments. It's a pretty straightforward, simple one."

The 24-year-old also seeks professional support when needed.

"I have a psychologist who I talk to," Russell continued.

"It's not routinely but I always pick up the phone whenever I feel like I need it, and I always leave that conversation feeling better about myself. There's sort of a weight lifted off my shoulders.

"I think – a number of people have said this before – it's the same way as if you want to get fitter; you go to the gym and you speak to a personal trainer. If there's anything weighing on your mind, you need to talk to a professional about it and seek that help."

Russell explains impact of psychologist

When asked about the biggest lessons he has taken from seeing a psychologist, Russell admitted that he finds this difficult to explain.

"The conversations with the psychologist, for me, it's difficult to put into words, because they are truly experts within their field," the Briton said.

"I always come away from a conversation with my psychologist and, whether I talk to my girlfriend or my family and [they might ask], 'How was that?', I try and explain some of things that we spoke about and the pieces of advice that he gave me.

"But I actually struggle to say it, but it's because that's what they're so good at. I can't really describe what it was that he said or how he said it, but I feel better for it.

"I would really recommend, anybody who's got the opportunity to talk to a professional, even if you've never done it before, [to] just go out there and just give it a try and see what you think.

"I think you'd be really surprised at what you can take from it."

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