British Grand Prix: ‘I feel bad saying no to people’s weddings’ – Lando Norris column

The British Grand Prix is live on 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

British McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris sits seventh in the F1 world title standings having scored one podium so far this season. Here he talks about why he loves the British Grand Prix, strange fan requests, golf and Monaco.

British fans are just much cooler and much better than other fans… I grew up here, it’s the country I’m proud to be part of.

They want their country to do well – be better and faster than others. And, apart from that, what makes it good is the volume and amount of them there.

I think countries have different amounts of passion for racing and British fans have a lot passion for racing, and show that in many varied ways.

Not just simply standing there and saying, ‘Go Lando’. They’ve got the enthusiasm there and wanting their country to do well and that’s an amazing thing to see and feel and to hear.

Of course you get weird requests in signing things or pictures or whatever. It’s a cool thing and an enjoyable thing and always good fun.

At the fans’ stage last year at Silverstone they’re throwing their beers around, and seeing all the liquids flying everywhere and they were chanting – they had different chants for me and things like that.

That’s just such a cool feeling to be doing things like that. I love that.

For better or for worse

You feel bad for saying no to people’s weddings. There’s a lot of requests to go to people’s weddings – it’s one you get more than you would think.

I think it’s is a cool thing because it’s their one chance in their life of a very memorable moment, and they want you to come and be a part of it…

I don’t know what they would want me to do, exactly. But yeah I think that’s a question I get a lot – but obviously I have to say no most of the time.

Same with being in racing – a lot of people own nice cars. I get requests to go for a drive with whoever that person is and drive their cars and it’ll be a lovely historic car from the ’60s or ’70s or whatever.

I would absolutely love to drive them, but I’d always be thinking, ‘What if something happens? I’m getting the blame for it’.

I don’t want that pressure on me – the responsibility to keep it in one piece or something bad’s going to happen.

I did Goodwood last year and drove [Ayrton] Senna’s McLaren – the one he crashed in Japan at Turn One [in 1990]. I was going up the hill, which I think is different to driving on a race track – you only get into third gear. It’s such a cool feeling and I’d love to say yes to every one but at the same time there’s always too much pressure.

Lando Norris
Norris plays with some of golf’s best

‘I don’t care if golf is or isn’t cool’

I’m not knowledgeable to know when country-led sports are on – England or Great Britain.

I’m always into that whether it’s supporting football or rugby or anything, then I’ll always try to watch. But I don’t know when next one is.

But, golf. Absolutely number one. Every single weekend I’m watching. I’m supporting people I’ve played with – Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick. They have priority on people I support.

I don’t care if it’s cool or not, it’s something I love to play, so when you have a love to play something and you’re so passionate about it and you want to do it literally every single day, every hour… I don’t think it matters.

It’s not looking like a cool thing – you see racing cars go past you think, ‘that is pretty cool’. See a golf ball go past you think, ‘what the hell is that?’

So I wouldn’t say it’s a cool thing, but it’s cool when you get to work or play with people at the top of their sport. I played with Justin Rose yesterday, Poulter last week. Bernd Wiesberger next week in Austria – when you play with those people then I find it cool.

Everyone has their own opinions and I find it cool from that regard of how skilled they are and the level they have to worked at to be at number one of their sport.

Lando Norris
Norris recently moved to Monaco

Downsizing to Monaco

It’s a different life, comparing things to what you can have in England.

In Monaco, for many things the price is a lot higher – you get a lot less for the same amount. I downsized big time, but my flat is still a very nice place – a good location and a good view.

It’s a lot smaller than the place I had In the UK. There is smaller [in Monaco], but I’ve also seen a lot nicer.

But I needed room to put my simulator and my gaming set-up and things like that. And simply that’s what I like and need, and that’s it.

There’s a lot of racing drivers there – I get along with Max Verstappen, so we spend some time together.

And a couple of my friends, they come out to Monaco every now and then and we go and do some golf and go to some nice restaurants and when it’s nice weather we travel around just out of Monaco into a France.

But they don’t really have a many places to stay in the apartment. I can’t offer as much hospitality as I used to be able to – they have to stay in a hotel nearby or something.

But it’s still a lot of fun, you know.

Lando was talking to BBC Sport’s Matt Warwick

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