Motor racing-‘Sign the baby’: Norris used to bizarre requests at home race

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Lando Norris is used to strange requests from a legion of fans at his home British Grand Prix – but signing a baby’s forehead was a step too far.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver is staying at the circuit hotel but prefers to go the long way around to meet the fans rather than take the direct route to the paddock over a connecting walkway.

Sometimes it can be a step into the unexpected.

“I just get more and more people wanting me to decide their tattoos and stuff,” he told reporters. “I feel like it’s a lot of pressure, deciding what someone is permanently going to have. I feel that’s a bit weird.”

Norris wears several bracelets on his wrist, most provided by fans.

One says “muppet”, another spells out “Let’s go Lando”.

“I used to call (former team mate) Carlos (Sainz) a muppet,” he explained. “The fans still say it now … I think I called him a muppet in a video and the fans loved it.

“I get loads (of bracelets) from fans. During the weekend I’ll get more and I’ll swap them out eventually. It’s just one thing I like to do.”

One thing he did not like to do was to autograph a baby’s forehead.

“I didn’t do it. Signing a baby. That’s a bit of a weird one,” he said.

Organisers are expecting a record crowd of 160,000 fans on Sunday, and 450,000 over the entire event, with the sport’s popularity soaring thanks to Netflix docu-series “Drive to Survive”.

Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has also started filming his F1 movie at the circuit this weekend.

Norris could be the top British driver on Sunday, with Mercedes’ seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and George Russell outside the top 10 in Friday practice.

The McLaren driver was already top Brit in Austria last weekend when he finished fourth behind a podium of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez (first and third) with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc second.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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