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Formula One driver Lando Norris has described some of the 'creepy' behaviour some fans have inflicted on close friends and family have been subjected to after appearing in his social media posts.
The 22-year-old Brit has become one of the sport's most recognisable faces since joining the F1 grid for the 2019 season.
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A healthy presence on social media and his online antics with rival drivers George Russell, Alex Albon and Max Verstappen, particularly during the pandemic-forced F1 hiatus in 2020, have elevated his profile to a genuine fan favourite.
But that adoration has certainly come at a cost, with Norris telling ESPN it had had a demonstrable effect on those closest to him.
Norris described it as 'the worst side' of his glamorous life as one of the fastest drivers in the world.
“I think the one bad thing is just personal life with friends, people who through no fault of their own get put into the spotlight sometimes because of being seen with me, following them on social media or something,” Norris said.
“I think that’s been the worst side of it - someone who is just quiet on their own and they are seen with me at dinner or on a post on Instagram.
“There’s still a lot of nasty fans, a lot of fans which are just not nice and just use a lot of people and things like that.
“I’d say the worst thing about the popularity is those kind of people. The people who don’t respect your personal life at all and the people you hang with and so on.
“That’s definitely the worst bit of it.”
Norris, who was joined at McLaren by Australian star Daniel Ricciardo this season, said it was concerning how much time total strangers would put in to finding and harassing those close to him.
While Norris acknowledges that some of this simply comes with the territory of having international fame, the 22-year-old nevertheless said it could be 'very creepy'.
“It’s very, very weird. Honestly, it’s very creepy what some people do," he said.
“The time they spend trying to investigate things or people or whatever.
“I just laugh and find it very funny, but it’s very weird. It’s just odd.”
Webber expects Aussie ace Oscar Piastri to seize F1 chance
The confidence and ability of Oscar Piastri has Mark Webber in no doubt it is only a matter of time before the young Australian makes his Formula One debut.
Piastri has signed on to be a reserve driver for the Alpine F1 team in 2022, putting the 20-year-old in the box seat to fill any vacancies that may come up in the category.
Webber, the eight-time Grands Prix winner, is both mentor and manager of the Melbourne-born rising star and is convinced the reserve driver position is simply the next step on Piastri's path to becoming Australia's next F1 star.
"We keep putting him in deeper water and every time Oscar goes in deeper water, he keeps delivering," Webber told AAP.
"He just keeps servicing with a smile on his face, going 'yeah, bring it on, give me some more challenges'.
"What I'm really excited about is guys like him, when you put more people around them - more personnel, more laptops, more intense work - someone like him is soaking it up, whereas some guys can be very good in junior categories but they melt when they get to the Formula One levels of intensity and scrutiny.
"He's right there."
While Piastri was unable to secure a seat on the grid for 2022, Webber is predicting a forthcoming changing of the guard in the field which he expects to create opportunities.
"Oscar can't really do much more. He will continue to prepare, no question about it," Webber said.
"He'll have more mileage than he's ever had next year in Formula One cars, which is great.
"We just then need the opportunity for the market to then move around a bit and have a little bit of churn out in terms of some of the older guys moving on, which will happen."
With his short-term future sorted, Piastri's immediate focus switches back to trying to secure this year's Formula Two title.
With two events remaining, Piastri holds a 36-point lead over nearest rival Guanyu Zhou as he attempts to become just the third driver to win back-to-back F3 and F2 titles as a rookie.
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