But, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Ricciardo admitted that the last two years in the sport have taken a significant mental toll, to the point he was not his “usual bubbly self.”
As such, the eight-time Grand Prix winner decided to seek help.
“I started to speak to a psychologist last year,” he revealed, “I was neglecting friendships and thought it would be good to talk to someone to make sure the two sides of my life didn’t cross over.”
“It was hard to remove yourself from what was happening in the racing.”
Not the first to open up
Daniel Ricciardo is not the first men’s sports star to talk openly about his struggles with mental health.
NBA All-star Kevin Love has previously discussed how beneficial speaking with a therapist was for his mental wellbeing. The most successful Olympian of all time Michael Phelps has also admitted that he struggled with anxiety and depression before seeking professional help. Ricciardo’s McLaren team mate, Lando Norris, has also spoken about his mental battles, signifying that even the much younger generation can always do with an ear to open up to.
All four athletes are prime examples of how internal struggles can affect those who, on the face of things, look like they are at the pinnacle of their career.
Perhaps the mort important takeaway from Ricciardo’s admission, is that there really should be no stigma in regard to speaking with a psychologist. If some of the world’s best sports stars require, and subsequently seek professional help, then surely that’s a clear sign that we as ‘regular’ people could also stand to benefit from some professional help.
The Australian F1 driver intends to distance himself from the sport next season but plans to “stay in touch.” He said, “It’s about getting enough space to rebuild myself. I don’t want to get too deep.”
“I am not on a voyage of self-discovery, but taking some time off, going on some journeys and adventures, will help.”
Here’s hoping the Honey Badger can make a winning return to Formula One in the future.