Lando Norris has said he has toughened up against social media criticism and has learned to ‘love’ reading bad things about himself.
As one of the youngest drivers on the F1 grid, Norris embraced social media very early on in his career – he shared lots of aspects of his life via posts and livestreams, and built a legion of fans during COVID lockdown by streaming his racing antics with fellow drivers.
But the positivity was outweighed by a barrage of negativity and online toxicity, leading Norris to back away from personal posting and sharing as he revealed that family and friends would end up being targeted by online users – he highlighted that aspect as being the worst part of his star rising as an F1 driver, as well as the impact on his mental health of reading negativity.
Lando Norris: Why do people waste time doing these things?
Having grown up considerably in his few short years in Formula 1, Norris said that he has learned to deal with the bad aspects of social media. While he still reads comments about himself, he has learned to laugh off the toxic elements that inhabit every social media interaction.
“I guess in 2019, 2020, like I would read something and I’d be like, ‘Why is this person said this or done that?'” he told the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I almost cared too much about what people think. I’ve to be careful how I say it, because people are going to headline it and go, ‘Oh, Lando doesn’t care about it’.
“But you have to learn to listen to the people that you respect, and understand what people are saying but, at the same time, when you know someone has no idea about something or just says it simply because they’re idiots or they’ve got nothing else to do, that’s positive, you know?”
Norris said the reasons why people online choose to make things into a bad experience is something that is unfathomable to him.
“Like I don’t get why people would waste… want to waste time of their life, the one life that they live, why people even want to spend time doing these things?” he said.
“Fighting bad stuff and trying to find bad things and make bad situations. Like people actually choosing to spend their life, their one life on Earth doing such things, which makes absolutely no sense to me.
“So I’ve got to a point now where I really enjoy seeing what people write about me. Of course, I love the good things and it’s great to read at times. I’ve just learned to laugh and make fun of the bad things because I just feel sorry for the person who’s actually had to come up with that stuff in the first place that’s brought amusement to them.”
Lando Norris: I’m always very honest about things
Norris has become well-loved for his refreshingly positive take on life, and the British driver explained that he feels his honesty sometimes leads to negativity being spread about him.
“I mainly try to ignore it like… I guess I read it, so I don’t completely ignore it, but I ignore the impact or the effect that it has on me,” he said.
“But I really am a person who cares a lot about what people think and I never want to look bad or say the wrong thing. I feel like I’m always very honest with things and, therefore, sometimes I say things that, not that I shouldn’t, but things that are just true and genuine.
“We just live in a world now, more and more, where you just have to say things that everyone agrees with – people can’t have just an opinion to them.
“It has to be something that every human on Earth has to agree with. And, if it’s not something like that, then there are people that are going to say that you’re disrespectful and blah, blah, blah, but I just try to get on with my life.
“I say it because that’s my opinion and they can just agree with it or disagree with it and move on from that.”
Asked about what approach he’d take to social media with his own children, if and when that day comes for him, Norris laughed.
“I’m going to be a strict dad, I’ll tell you that!” he said.
“I feel like I’ve got opinions on things. My parents brought me up, I think, very well. I get that my dad was successful and things like that and people always try to turn that into a bad thing about the person.
“But I think I’ve got respect, I think I have good manners. I think I’ve everything that I need. I don’t get into people’s faces too much, and I keep to myself a lot of the time.
“So I just take what my parents taught me simply and I’ll do the best job I can to ingrain that to the kids I have in the future.”