Sauber's Marcus Ericsson credits mental change for Formula 1 gains

Marcus Ericsson says a combination of experience and changes to his mental approach have made him a stronger Formula 1 driver

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson credits mental change for Formula 1 gains

The Swede admitted to being "stressed" about his level of competitiveness with Sauber in the opening part of last season that led to him overdriving.

But he made changes to the way he approached a grand prix weekend and as a result, he feels mentally stronger.

Ericsson beat his Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr 12-7 in qualifying and though Nasr was the only one to score points, Ericsson was ahead nine times to four in the races they both finished.

"This year especially I've been able to work better through the weekends," Ericsson, who has been retained by Sauber for next season, told Autosport.

"Free practice sessions haven't been the most important for me.

"I've been focusing on qualifying and that system has been working very good for me.

"This year I really found a way to get a reference of what I need to be fast.

"I need a stable rear end going into corners so I can trust that and then I can get the confidence to carry the speed going into the exits of the corners.

"That was something that wasn't maybe 100% clear for me before.

"These types of details sound small but in the end they make a big difference."

Ericsson admitted when he used to make a mistake or struggled to get comfortable in practice, that would adversely affect him for the remainder of the weekend.

"The biggest thing that I'm stronger mentally now so in free practice, if you're a bit lost with the car and driving, there's no reason to get frustrated because free practice doesn't matter," he said.

"It's Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon that matter.

"If we are lost with the set-up at one point, we don't get s stressed - we just keep on working.

"It's been nice to build up through the weekends and when we come to Saturday afternoon usually we are there or thereabouts with the car and I'm there or thereabouts with the driving and I'm able to unlock the potential of the car for qualifying on Saturday."

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