Lando Norris made the most of the Italian Grand Prix weekend to pay homage to his racing hero, Valentino Rossi, calling it “a lot of fun” to race with custom kit.

McLaren F1 driver Norris has always looked up to motorcycle racing icon Rossi, and managed to meet the Yamaha rider for the first time at the Silverstone MotoGP round last month.

Norris took advantage of the meeting to buy as much Rossi merchandise as he could get his hands on, including a Doctor-themed bucket hat that he wore on a live stream.

As well as customising his helmet and race boots to match Rossi’s designs – with approval from the nine-time world champion himself – Norris brought the bucket hat to Monza, wearing it in the garage and on the grid ahead of the race.

“It’s been good fun, as much as some people thought I looked like an idiot, which I probably did,” Norris told Crash.net after the race at Monza.

“You know when you can just tell. They say ‘nice hat!’ but you can just tell they’re like ‘what an idiot!’ I saw a lot of faces like that...

“But I honestly couldn’t care less. I enjoyed myself. It’s not like I’m going to be wearing that hat every weekend, it’s just this weekend.

“It’s been very enjoyable for me, I’ve loved it, especially having the Rossi-related helmet and boots and so on.

“I had a lot of fun. That’s all that matters.”

Norris recovered from a back-of-grid engine penalty to finish the race 10th on Sunday, with the Briton feeling it was the best result realistically possible for McLaren.

“The VSC helped a few drivers such as [Sergio] Perez, almost [Pierre] Gasly. So it could have been better for us, but it wasn’t,” Norris said.

“I think in terms of the race, P10 was probably almost as good as it was going to get. We weren’t far away from getting [Antonio] Giovinazzi on the last couple of laps.

“I know there are things I can improve on and do a bit better on, nothing major that was going to be positions-worth and loads of points worth.

“But one point is better than no points, so I’m still happy.”

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