Skip to content

INSIGHT: Lewis and Valtteri on Digging Deep

Every Formula One season is a rollercoaster ride - you can only conquer the inclines if you gain speed through the drops

No-one can escape difficult days. It's just part of life. Things might not go to plan, or you might miss the targets you set yourself - but the moments themselves aren't what count. What really matters is how you react to them, because you learn the most in tough times and grow stronger as a result.

Valtteri and Lewis have their own ways of retaining the fighting spirit that powers them to success.

Valtteri's state of mind is shaped by the Finnish concept of 'Sisu'.

"It's a mental power," he says. "A will to succeed and never giving up. Never, ever giving up. I think that's it in a nutshell.

"This strength of not giving up on your goal, even if you need to go through a stone wall. You might have setbacks at the beginning of a race - but you've just got to keep on going.

"You have to learn from your mistakes - but there is a limit to how much you have to beat yourself up. You have to be in your best mental and physical shape."

"It really applies in anything you do, if you set a clear target and focus all of the energy you have. It's just this thing we Finns always have in common. We will find a way and no one will stop us."

The concept of Sisu is an important part of Finnish culture. But why is that?

"I think nature has definitely made our country what it is, made the people what they are, and made the mentality that's the Sisu in us, because it can be quite tough," Valtteri admits.

"Winters are cold, nights are long... but then of course summer is the opposite. It's beautiful. I think just the way the country is has made us who we are."

Through the tough moments, he's always looking for the positives, constantly pushing to learn and get the most out of each opportunity. That's what Sisu is all about.

For Lewis, the analogy he lives by is a constant presence. You only need to look at the spectacular ink on his body - or the back of his now iconic helmet design - to get a sense for its importance to the Champion.

"Still I Rise for me is a metaphor which I feel like we can all apply in life. It's when you've had a bad day at the office, you wake up the next day and you rise again. It's about overcoming difficult times and about always having a positive mental attitude towards being great and improving.

"There's a great (Maya Angelou) poem called Still I Rise - but I got Still I Rise from 2Pac, being my favourite rapper. One of his albums was called Still I Rise. It helps me every day.

"There are always things you need to overcome. There's people I meet all the time and I see the inspiration from other individuals who are rising above their difficult challenges or adversity.

"Still I Rise is the metaphor I use to battle adversity. Being able to move on and knowing you will rise again.

"My brother would fall over playing football - he has cerebral palsy - but he'd get back up again. Still I Rise. I've got friends who have battled through cancer and now they're healthy. Still I Rise.

"There are so many examples of it, throughout the world going on today. For me, it's one of the key ingredients that I feel like we all need to carry."

These are the philosophies that fuel our drivers and, by nature, the rest of us in the team. We're determined to win - but we relish a battle and are constantly striving to learn and to better ourselves.

The first three races of 2018 may not have swung our way, but there's a long season ahead. And we are relishing the prospect of the fight...