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TL;DW: Life lessons from every F1 driver in ‘When We Were Young’

This week, the FIA released their short documentary film entitled “When We Were Young” showcasing the F1 drivers’ journeys into the sport.

So far, they’ve released a two-chapter video on their YouTube channel that features all 20 drivers talking about their journey into F1 and the lessons they’ve learned.

Throughout the remaining 11 races on the calendar, they’ll be releasing more clips of the documentary. But for now, here are all the valuable pieces of inspiration we picked up so you can get your dose of wisdom from all your favorite drivers.

Reminiscing simpler times

I was basically taking this little car and doing a track watching the TV during the Grand Prix when I was younger,” Esteban Ocon shared in the documentary.

All drivers talked about where they started: their karting days. “The craft of racing, all those things are learned from go-karting,” Lance Stroll explained.

Lando Norris also expressed how he felt about his karting days. “At this age it was all about enjoyment…Miss these times sometimes.

And Kevin Magnussen matched Lando’s sentiment: “When I look back now, there were so many great times that I was maybe just rushing through because I wanted to get to the next point.

And from toy cars to go-karts to Formula 1 cars these drivers went.

So whenever you’re starting a new hobby or passion, take ease in starting small. When you’re a pro at what you’re doing, chances are you’ll miss the beginner days.

Max and Charles on talent vs hard work

According to recent world champ Max Verstappen, “If you combine talent and hard work together, that’s when you become something special.”

And in Charles’ words, “Yes, the talent is important, but I think the work is much more important.

As the top two contenders for the championship this year, we’ll find out whose advice might be better.

The company Alex and Daniel keep

When I grew up going into racing, there was a common conception that to be rivals you have to be enemies,” Alex Albon shared, “But that wasn’t the case for me.

In his go-karting days, he competed with his closest friends on track: George, Charles, and Lando. And now, they’ve all grown up and are still racing together at the highest level, F1.

Daniel Ricciardo shares a similar sentiment. “You can’t do it alone.

No seemingly “individual” sports are ever really done by individuals alone. The company you keep can make or break an experience.

Nicholas and Yuki growing up young

As we learn in the documentary, all drivers start racing at very young ages. “My dad was thinking, if you try to be [a] professional driver, you have to decide: either you play or you focus,” Yuki Tsunoda shared.

It’s hard to imagine having to understand the concept of the future at such a young age, but Nicholas Latifi took comfort in his passion. “When you love what you do, it doesn’t really matter what you’re giving up.

How many mornings did you sacrifice sleeping in just to do a workout or to train for your sport?

Sebastian and Carlos’ passions

Of course, these drivers know that the hardest work often stems from passion. Carlos Sainz said, “Once you have the passion and you have the commitment to the sport, then if you have talent and hard work, it is possible.”

And Sebastian Vettel knows what it’s like to draw something from within. “If it comes from inside of you, that makes the biggest difference.”

Wisdom from experience

Fernando Alonso admitted in the documentary, “It’s not so clear what will be your life when you’re at that age.” And yet, he ended up a two-time world champion.

When you’re young, you never know where you’ll end up. But as Valtteri Bottas put it, you have to “give yourself time to develop.

Lewis and Pierre on being underdogs

Usually among athletes, it is those who are doubted the most who strive the hardest. Lewis Hamilton himself had the odds stacked against him.

We were racing against a really wealthy family,” Lewis shared. “Beautiful motorhome, they had the best go-karts and all sorts right, and we beat them with so little. So it was a real proud moment for us as a family.

And if you know Pierre Gasly’s history from AlphaTauri to Red Bull and back, you know he was doubted too. “There are gonna be a lot of people along the way telling you it’s impossible to make it happen, but that’s why you got to stay strong.

George’s quote of the day

And finally, our favorite quote of the FIA’s short documentary that capped it off perfectly.

George Russell, reflecting on all the work that has led up to him driving for one of the most successful teams alongside one of the biggest world champions, shared his secret.

“If you give it fifty percent, you won’t even get fifty percent of the way—you will get five percent of the way. You need to give it a hundred and twenty percent to have that one small opportunity to get that dream and achieve what you want. So give everything.”

If these inspiring stories and life lessons from the F1 drivers don’t get you on that grind, we don’t know what will.