Life Through A Lens: 2016

Life Through A Lens: 2016

Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite images from each round of the 2016 season

Australia

Kalisz/Sutton Images

The Fernando Alonso crash was one of the stand-out moments of the season for us. Capturing it as we did from different angles with photographers standing at different points was one of those moments where everything just clicks – right place, right time, and sometimes that’s the key to a great or iconic shot. The severity of the crash is captured nicely and in our column for Australia I explained how we planned where our photographers would stand for the race – this corner has seen lots of accidents over the year and knowing that helped us capture this moment.

Bahrain

Sutton Images

I saw Lewis Hamilton coming into the paddock on Friday before FP1. He was talking to his trainer and then picked up his phone and started to film for Snapchat. He actually got told off for doing this as he was warned about it in Australia — FOM is very strict on filming in the paddock and those rules apply for everyone, even a three-time world champion. Lewis actually tried to get this shot twice and I thought I would get behind him rather than join the crowd of photographers, capture a shot within a shot if you like. It just looks nice and shows the sort of attention a driver like Hamilton gets when he arrives in the paddock.

Personally I think FOM would be wise to lower those restrictions on drivers filming in the paddock, you just need to look at the followers Hamilton has on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to understand how it could help increase interest in the sport.

China

Sutton Images

This was one of the key moments of the race and pretty dramatic. You get plenty of time to see them coming down the backstraight in China when standing where I was and the tyre actually blew out with quite a way to go. This shot is good as you’ve got Ricciardo trying to navigate the turn and keep an eye on his mirrors, he needs to get on the inside to pit at the next corner but he’s about to be passed by everyone as well. This is the tyre of shot you see happen in front of you and you just shoot through the corner. An added bonus is that it always creates a great shot when the tyre comes completely off the wheel like that.

Russia

Sutton Images

This is one of those photos that suddenly had more meaning the following week. I had just come to the paddock after the autograph signing. Max Verstappen went over to Red Bull and started talking to Helmut Marko with his manager and dad, Jos, and there’s me thinking they were just talking about 2017! I got a few shots of them talking because I was aware of the link with next year, but thought nothing of it.

A few days later, when I saw the news of Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat I suddenly remembered this set of photographs and realised it was very newsworthy. This was obviously before Kvyat’s crash on Sunday and the revelation the following week but who knows, maybe the driver switch had already been mentioned at this point?

Spain

Sutton Images

We didn’t catch the Mercedes collision — Turn 4 is not a usual place for a photographer to stand on the first lap as it’s usually unlikely anything will happen there. The one agency that caught it was doing some work for a sponsor, much like how I got lucky and captured Sebastian Vettel’s engine blowup in Bahrain while doing stuff for DHL, for example, sometimes that’s how it goes. While the race was going I had BBC radio coverage on in my ear and they remarked how sad it was to see the cars sat under covers in parc ferme and so I shot over there as quick as I could.

I think this is a nice image as it’s something different and looks fairly dramatic. I had to get this signed off by the FIA before sending it out because I wasn’t sure if it was actually in parc ferme and an area I’m not allowed to shoot in — I don’t know how it works because I was told it doesn’t become parc ferme until the race finished. Either way, it was a nice shot to get as it was very different to what anyone else got — it has a doomsday feel to it

Monaco

Sutton Images

I had a lot of backlash on this on Instagram, abuse for Justin Bieber and Lewis Hamilton. They seem to be quite polarising figures. A lot of people were asking why he was there and why Hamilton gave him the champagne before celebrating with the team, all this stuff. To be honest, at first I thought it was Eminem! We saw a quick glance of him on the big screen and it was only when he wandered past us on the grid that we realised who it was.

It was a bit strange for Bieber to just be stood there but I guess it’s good for F1 trying to engage with a younger audience and seeing them both enjoying a pally moment was something a bit different and a reminder of Lewis’ fame away from the sport. If there’s a place to watch F1 it’s Monaco — it’s hard not to be impressed with F1 cars when they are flying around the circuit, so close to the wall, so I’m sure Bieber had a good time.

Canada

Sutton Images

This is a nice shot. I was stood on the podium tower and had a really good spot in the middle because I ran like hell to get there. You never know whether you’ll get a good position because FOM take up a lot of space with their boxes and cameras. I shot him on the 500mm as he came round the corner and parked up. He did this boxing celebration with reference to Muhammad Ali, jumped in the air and did this big salute. You can tell he’s happy even in mid air. I shot on the 500mm, which was the perfect lens and didn’t require much cropping. The result is a great celebration photo that tells a story of the Canadian Grand Prix, which was a masterclass from Lewis for much of the race.

Azerbaijan

Sutton Images

This was really weird. I didn’t actually know what it was on his car until I got back to the media centre and looked at it in detail. I thought it was a bag, but I wasn’t really sure. Baku is called the windy city and it lives up to its name. As a result there was a bit of debris on the track, and although they did a good job of cleaning it every night, there is nothing you can do if it blows on the track during the race. In this instance it looked like a big blue bin liner and it got stuck on the suspension arm of Sebastian Vettel’s car. As he came onto the straight he hit a bump and it went up and split, it was very weird and lucky that no other car hit it.

Austria

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

People love these Procar races back in the day and it was amazing seeing the reaction on social media to this event in Spielberg. This is something they used to do on a regular basis, putting drivers into one car for special races which formed its own championship. In Austria a bunch of the old guys went out, including Niki Lauda, on what was a bit more of a parade than a race. It was great to hear the roar of the engines, the pure power of a normally-aspirated engine.

It was a pretty good spectacle. Marc Surer went off on the first lap and then we saw him in the paddock trying to hide his face from everyone, he looked quite embarrassed. It was great to see some of the old timers there, they certainly enjoyed themselves being back in them. I’d love to see them doing something like this for modern F1 drivers because the fans enjoy it, it’s a bit different.

Great Britain

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

It was great seeing Lewis Hamilton’s celebrations at Silverstone. He genuinely went beyond what is expected of most drivers when they win a race, engaging with the fans and generally looking like he was having the time of his life. The champagne shots like this are always good fun as the drivers put aside any differences of frustrations and enjoy themselves on the podium for a brief moment. With the pendulum swinging between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg it’s important to get as many different shots of the pair as possible.

Hungary

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

At Turn 2 what we would generally do is do the grid, do all the grid preparations and whatever goes on. Then we are kicked off sort of 15 minutes before the start of the race. We then go into the paddock and down the stairs to where the photo area is, pick up the long lenses and then you literally go down to Turn 2. It’s quite a tight angle coming into that corner and obviously all the cars pile in there. There doesn’t seem to be many crashes there to be honest — more at Turn 1 where it’s tighter — but it’s still a nice group shot coming into that corner. I actually shot it more from the banking on the left, rather than shooting it head on. I thought I’d go for a slightly different angle, coming towards me which I think is quite nice.

Germany

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

For the national anthem, some people just do the rear shot which is fine, but a load of guys from the back. I don’t particularly like it can be quite a nice moody shot. You are trying to create an atmospheric picture. It’s quite nice, I’ve seen some where the planes go over and things like that and that’s quite nice but it just gets a bit repetitive. I went round and I looked over and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I put my camera up, I could see Nico was behind and I thought ‘just let him in, it’s not difficult’.

I looked to the other end and Ericsson’s was the furthest to the left and he’s got loads of space and there’s actually a plaque on the floor where someone should be and maybe someone went in the wrong place. Obviously Nico seems to have got the hump, it looks like that to me with the pictures. Maybe the pictures tell the bad story I don’t know! Nico is staring right at him and I’m thinking — because I didn’t see these clips before I didn’t know what was going on — it looked like he was a bit p—– off about the fact that you want to be at the front at your home race.

Belgium

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

I went out to Eau Rouge on the Friday afternoon and it is still truly breathtaking after all these years, regardless of what people say about the new cars. It’s still an amazing corner to go to, you don’t get a real sense of the speed until you are sat right there watching them fly past you. The great bit about standing here, on the inside of the bottom of the hill, is you can see the line they take through the rest of the corner. If you look closely you can see it on the road further up. I chose this shot because the car is blurry, adding to the sense of how fast they are going at this point.

Italy

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

I was going to pick a podium shot for Nico Rosberg but this picture stood out as telling a nicer story from the Italian Grand Prix. This is just after qualifying, and Hamilton had just taken pole by half a second. Rosberg was clearly miffed how his teammate could be so much faster and after qualifying he sat looking at the timing screens, wondering where on earth Hamilton had found the time.

On Sunday he got the start right, Hamilton got it wrong, and that turned the momentum back in his favour but Rosberg must wonder what he has to do to beat Lewis on days like Saturday. It’s also a nice shot because 24 hours later he was on the podium celebrating a win, something he probably didn’t imagine when he was sat there. In the context of the whole season, this is one of the moments Rosberg had to dig deep and be mentally strong to beat Lewis.

Singapore

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

I was up in the stands to do an atmospheric shot. I had done the grid, done the line-up shot of them all lined up for the national anthem, and literally legged it round the back to get up to this vantage point. You go across a bridge and passed hospitality but I managed to find a spot — but when it’s this crowded you’re worried about people around you maybe getting in the way of the shot.

Luckily I had enough space to pan down the grid as they all pulled away. I didn’t actually see the crash initially, I just heard the crowd screaming as it did happen, and the next minute there was a car lying in the middle of the road. Right after it happened I switched to the 500 for the shots of Nico Hulkenberg climbing out of his car and walking away. When I got back to the media centre I initially sent those shots back and then thought, ‘I wonder if I got the crash?’ I looked through and sure enough I did have the sequence, which was a nice surprise and turned out to be a really good shot.

Malaysia

Rubio/Sutton Images

On top of catching a sequence of Hamilton’s engine failure I also got this shot of him after the retirement. This is probably the key moment of the season — a bit like Michael Schumacher’s engine going in China in 2006. Mercedes even admitted this moment caught Hamilton the title. When you get this kind of moment happening in front of you that’s all you can do. We had some trouble uploading the shot afterwards, which meant it wasn’t immediately available to us.

I was stood on the exit of the corner and was able to get Hamilton climbing out of the car and kneeling down in a prayer position. The last one is a significant picture for us: Lewis shared it on his Instagram feed with an explanation of his feelings and a defence of Mercedes after the race. He’s the most followed driver there by a long way, and it was his most “liked” shot ever — meaning it must be the most successful social F1 image ever. It tells an amazing story about that moment, his feelings and emotions at that moment but also a nice reflection of the faith he has always been very vocal about.

Japan

Sutton Images

The fans in Japan are just amazing. I love going over to the fan area, talking to them and signing autographs for them. They just want to shake your hand and it got to a point where I just wanted to take a selfie with them! At one point there was a massive group of them and they started shouting my name, so I thought I’ve got to get a photo with them as well. You can see the passion among those that get dressed up and because we promote it through photographs and social media new fans tend to push the boundaries each year and do new things. They are such pleasant people and when you ask for a picture you barely ever get turned down — they love it! There’s no other place like it and it makes Suzuka that bit more special to come back to each year.

USA

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

I’ve mentioned on these columns before how great Daniel Ricciardo is for a photographer because he’s always flashing his big toothy grin and generally just having fun. He finished third here and probably could have finished second if it wasn’t for the Virtual Safety Car. He’s obviously said the shoey is now just for wins but it seems like making someone else do one when he finishes second or third is just as big a tradition. I don’t know if the TV cameras picked it up, but Gerard Butler took a can of Red Bull on there as he doesn’t drink, so Ricciardo made him down that instead! He was a great sport about it and it was another fun moment — something that isn’t always the case on the podium when the Mercedes guys are there.

Mexico

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Esteban Gutierrez loved his first Mexican Grand Prix. He and Sergio Perez were the star attractions throughout the weekend — Perez seemed a bit more used to it after last year but Gutierrez was lapping up all the attention he could, and why not? This was actually just after the national anthem, usually they usher you off the grid at this point and as this was happening I looked to the side of the circuit and Gutierrez was there firing up the fans and doing a little bow. It must be truly special for these guys when they have home support and I thought it was a nice moment before the race that the FOM cameras might not have caught.

Brazil

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

This was a walk of emotion, coming out of the car and waving to the crowd over the barrier. Then one of the marshals gave him a flag and I thought ‘well, that’s the shot,’ as he walked away. I couldn’t get any closer because that was the track, he actually shouldn’t have been where he was but it created a great picture. I could see the flag was floating above his head so I was waiting for a shot of when I could see his face. When I first sent these back at the media centre I was in such a rush I don’t think I sent the best shot from this sequence, I sent one where you can’t see his face.

I was changing lenses in the rain and it was a rush, to be honest. You’re waiting for those moments to happen and when they do you have a smile on your face in the background, you just go with it. There was still the rest of the race to finish so you have to focus on your job.

Abu Dhabi

Rubio/Sutton Images

This is my favourite shot from the year. This is right in front of the main grandstand, everyone got it, the photographers the TV cameras. It was a great way to finish the season, the fact he did it on the start-finish straight as well. I think this shot portrays a great season and end and now we know it’s the end of Nico Rosberg’s career in Formula One as well. You can see the celebration in this photo and how much it meant winning the championship. An incredible season, lots of ups and downs, and this one caps it very nicely.

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Life Through a Lens: Brazilian Grand Prix

Life Through A Lens: Brazilian Grand Prix

Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite shots from the dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix.

Collision Course

Camera – Nikon D5 body | Lens – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 | Shutter speed – 1/1000th of a second | Aperture – F5.6 | ISO – 1600

I was at Turn 10, the hairpin, but I kept seeing people crash and thought ‘I’m in the wrong place here’. So I moved up the circuit and it’s honestly mindblowing how quick they are going in the rain, pulling out of the spray of other cars. I was just photographing the photographers standing trackside and then saw Massa have a moment at the top of the corner. He clipped the barrier and I just kept shooting — I had the 400 on so it was a bit tight. When he hit the barrier it was more frontal, so it was a bit of the front wing came off. I didn’t really see what happened after that — I just knew I had to get the wide angle on for the next shots of him getting out of the car.

Massa’s Final Farewell

 Camera – Nikon D5 body | Lens – 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/500th of a second | Aperture – F5.6 | ISO – 1600

This was a walk of emotion, coming out of the car and waving to the crowd over the barrier. Then one of the marshals gave him a flag and I thought ‘well, that’s the shot,’ as he walked away. I couldn’t get any closer because that was the track, he actually shouldn’t have been where he was but it created a great picture. I could see the flag was floating above his head so I was waiting for a shot of when I could see his face. When I first sent these back at the media centre I was in such a rush I don’t think I sent the best shot from this sequence, I sent one where you can’t see his face.

I was changing lenses in the rain and it was a rush, to be honest. You’re waiting for those moments to happen and when they do you have a smile on your face in the background, you just go with it. There was still the rest of the race to finish so you have to focus on your job.

Rain Delay

Camera – Nikon D5 body | Lens – Nikkor 70-200 F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/320th of a second | Aperture – F11 | ISO – 1600

The rain delay made for a chaotic afternoon. The race was on-again off-again several times and it made it chaotic. One good shot to come from it was the train of cars behind the safety car. It’s not often you get this sort of shot in a race — there’s obviously the formation lap, but this had the added benefit of the spray, creating a good picture.

Because of the chaos of the race I missed Marcus Ericsson’s crash as I had been positioned elsewhere on the circuit.

20 Down, One To Go

Camera – Nikon D5 body | Lens – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 | Shutter Speed – 1/640th of a second | Aperture – F6.3 | ISO – 1000

This was a good shot between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the podium. Often in these last few years we haven’t seen much between them in the last few seasons when they’ve been up there, it’s often tense and they sometimes act like the other one isn’t there. This has been the story of the season, they’ve been fighting all year. I think whoever wins they will hug each other and shake hands and say the best man one. I think there’s more respect evident between them this year than in previous years.

Life Through a Lens: U.S.A. and Mexico

Life Through a Lens: U.S.A. and Mexico

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his best shots from the U.S. and Mexican Grands Prix

Shoey Victim

Camera body – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 |Shutter speed – 1/640th of a Second | Aperture – F5.6 | ISO – 800

I’ve mentioned on these columns before how great Daniel Ricciardo is for a photographer because he’s always flashing his big toothy grin and generally just having fun. He finished third here and probably could have finished second if it wasn’t for the Virtual Safety Car. He’s obviously said the shoey is now just for wins but it seems like making someone else do one when he finishes second or third is just as big a tradition. I don’t know if the TV cameras picked it up, but Gerard Butler took a can of Red Bull on there as he doesn’t drink, so Ricciardo made him down that instead! He was a great sport about it and it was another fun moment — something that isn’t always the case on the podium when the Mercedes guys are there.

Early Preparations

Camera body – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/320th of a second | Aperture – F4 | ISO – 400

This is a rare shot of Lewis Hamilton because usually when he’s in the garage, it’s rare that we get a shot of him without his helmet on. This was on Thursday during the pit lane walk, there were lots of fans around and then I heard some noise from outside the Mercedes garage. I wondered what it was, so went over and there was Lewis during a seat fitting — something we don’t often get pictures of him doing. It’s a shot I’m always trying to get, of all the drivers, as it creates a really nice image of man and machine.

Lewis Fans

Camera body – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye | Shutter speed – 1/320th of a second | Aperture – F6.3 | ISO – 400

They love Lewis Hamilton in America — he’s super popular and this was actually the view facing away from the podium. I heard lots of “Lewis, Lewis” chants and behind me there’s this huge group of fans there. I decided to switch to a fisheye lens for this one and I think it captures the crowd best. F1 needs more races where there are passionate fans in large numbers and Austin is one of them.

Hola, Mexico

Camera Body – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/250 of a second | Aperture – F8 | ISO – 400

Esteban Gutierrez loved his first Mexican Grand Prix. He and Sergio Perez were the star attractions throughout the weekend — Perez seemed a bit more used to it after last year but Gutierrez was lapping up all the attention he could, and why not? This was actually just after the national anthem, usually they usher you off the grid at this point and as this was happening I looked to the side of the circuit and Gutierrez was there firing up the fans and doing a little bow. It must be truly special for these guys when they have home support and I thought it was a nice moment before the race that the FOM cameras might not have caught.

Lewis’ Lucky Escape

Camera – Nikon D5 |Lens – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 | Shutter speed – 1/1000th of a second | Aperture – F6.3 | ISO – 400

This is me stood at Turn 1, facing the long pit straight. I think this gives a good indication of just how early Hamilton locked up — he obviously went straight on and missed the Turn 2 apex completely. He clearly had a big issue with his brakes there and the chat after was all about whether he’d gained an advantage, but whatever way you look at it, he was lucky to have come out of Turn 1 unscathed. I didn’t actually see what happened through the corner as, when you’re stationed here, your view is actually restricted somewhat — I heard the crowd reacting to Hamilton going off and Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen coming together, but was still shooting the back of the field coming through knowing we had a guy stood with a better view of the chicane on the other side.

Life Through a Lens: Japanese Grand Prix

Life Through a Lens: Japanese Grand Prix

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his best shots from the Japanese Grand Prix

Fanatical About F1

Sutton Images

Camera body: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/250th | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO – 400

The fans in Japan are just amazing. I love going over to the fan area, talking to them and signing autographs for them. They just want to shake your hand and it got to a point where I just wanted to take a selfie with them! At one point there was a massive group of them and they started shouting my name, so I thought I’ve got to get a photo with them as well. You can see the passion among those that get dressed up and because we promote it through photographs and social media new fans tend to push the boundaries each year and do new things. They are such pleasant people and when you ask for a picture you barely ever get turned down — they love it! There’s no other place like it and it makes Suzuka that bit more special to come back to each year.

Spider Alley

Sutton Images

Camera body: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/320th | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO: 400

This was taken after Esteban Gutierrez stopped with a turbo problem in FP2 and had to walk back to the pits. The funny thing is that he is walking back along the narrow path we photographers have to take to get out to the Degner corners and 130R. You can see how narrow it is between the crash barrier and the fencing and it’s known among the snappers as “Spider Alley”. Everyone tends to wear long-sleeve shirts for fear of being bitten by all the spiders down there, but Esteban was probably unaware when he was walking down there! They are some serious spiders and they come in some serious colours, but I’m not sure if they are actually poisonous. Obviously, it’s a perfect environment for them, but it’s just a shame that we have to share that same environment to take some of our most iconic Suzuka photos!

A Blast From The Past

Sutton Images

Camera body: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/320th | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO: 400

I was a little surprised to see Stoffel Vandoorne walking down the pit lane in his race overalls and then someone pointed out that he was doing a demo run in the 1989 McLaren MP4/5. I went round to the grid expecting to see Ayrton Senna’s car, but actually it was Alain Prost’s — the one that won the championship following the famous collision at the chicane. Those cars are just legendary and the noise is fantastic. The cockpit is so open and it reminds you of the changes the sport has made in the last 27 years. The steering wheel has just a couple of switches and they only had very basic radio communications back in those days. I could hear Stoffel talking about it and he was very surprised by how basic it was too. It was amazing to see him go and complete a lap at Honda’s home track in Suzuka.

Down The Line

Sutton Images

Camera body: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/320th | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO: 400

I’m not sure what Nico Rosberg was looking at here, but it makes a nice photo. We take a variation of this shot at most weekends as the drivers line up for the national anthem, and I was shooting along the line to get photos of Lewis Hamilton and Nico. All of a sudden he just poked his head out from beyond the line and it’s a nice shot because it’s clean with no one obstructing it.

One Step Closer

Sutton Images

Camera body: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/500th | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO: 800

This is taken from a platform outside the media centre that’s on the same level of the podium. They only allow 10 photographers to go out on it to take photos, but you are never quite sure what you are going to get. This photo works well because Nico is leaning forward slightly and punching the air with the trophy. You get the expression of emotion that came with his ninth win of the year, but I’ve also noticed that his celebrations have changed this season as he’s become more focused on the championship. As the year has gone on he has talked less and become more subdued as it has become clear that this is a very good chance for him to secure the title. It’s almost like he is not giving us 100 percent of his emotions until the title is his, so I guess that will come when he wins it. The way things are going at the moment, I can see him winning all four of the remaining races but it all depends on Lewis’ reaction at the next round in Austin.

Life Through a Lens: Malaysian Grand Prix

Life Through a Lens: Malaysian Grand Prix
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through the best shots from the Malaysian Grand Prix, including Kevin Magnussen’s scary pit-lane fire and Lewis Hamilton’s potentially title-deciding engine failure.

Magnussen’s Pit-Lane Fire

Sutton Images
Rubio/Sutton Images
Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Camera model: NIKON D5 | Exposure time: 1/800 s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed : 1000

This was a quick moment and one of our photographers, Jose Rubio, was right there to capture it as Kevin Magnussen’s car caught fire. He did a great job of capturing how quickly Magnussen had to get out the car. When this is happening in front of you, you just snap away at the moment, you don’t really have time to think too much about it.

When this happened, I ran down to the pit-lane and saw Jose. He said he had caught the fire and so he went back to the media centre to upload them — when you have images like that, speed is key. It meant I was there to take pictures of the aftermath as they put the car out. It was spectacular, a bit like a warzone, there was dust everywhere… some people weren’t keen to get that close to it. We managed to get both the fire and the aftermath, giving us a nice sequence of shots that did really well on our social media channels and went quite viral. It also reginited the debate about Halo and whether he would have been hampered in getting out of the car with it on his car — an important debate if Halo is to come in for 2018 as planned.

Hamilton’s Heartbreak

Sutton Images
Mark Sutton/Sutton Images
Rubio/Sutton Images

This was another one caught by Jose, who was on the inside of the corner and snapped it as Hamilton came through the corner, head in hands. It could be an iconic shot from the season — a bit like Michael Schumacher’s engine going in China in 2006. Like the Magnussen shot, when you get this kind of moment happening in front of you that’s all you can do. We had some trouble uploading the shot afterwards, which meant it wasn’t immediately available to us.

I was stood on the exit of the corner and was able to get Hamilton climbing out of the car and kneeling down in a prayer position. The last one is a significant picture for us: Lewis shared it on his Instagram feed with an explanation of his feelings and a defence of Mercedes after the race. He’s the most followed driver there by a long way, and it was his most “liked” shot ever — meaning it must be the most successful social F1 image ever. It tells an amazing story about that moment, his feelings.

The Shoey

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images
Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Camera model : Nikon D5 | Exposure time: 1/1640 s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom with 1.4 converter

Everyone loves Daniel Ricciardo and when he does stuff like this is not hard to see why. I think everyone wanted to see him win a race after what happened in Spain and especially Monaco. He’s got this infectious personality and it’s so nice to see his excitement on the podium. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have looked slightly reserved and unemotional on the podium in recent times but Ricciardo looks completely different — like every win is his first.

The shoey is becoming super popular and it suits his personality perfectly. There were lots of Australian fans there and as soon as he arrived they were chanting “Shoey! Shoey! Shoey!” When he won, I knew he’d said he would only do it if he won again so I was prepared for the shoey — I didn’t expect him to make all three of them to do it as well! It was a great sight, especially when Mark Webber then threw the shoe off the podium!

Life Through a Lens: Singapore Grand Prix

Life Through a Lens: Singapore Grand Prix

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite shots from the Singapore Grand Prix.

Eye In The Sky

Camera – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 70-200mm | F2.8 Shutter Speed – 1/320th of a second | Aperture – F4 | ISO – 1600

This was a weird one because I went up in the flier in FP2 and was taking some good overhead shots of the final corner. It’s a bit of a chore to get up there because you have to get everything scanned, but this turned out to be worth it. I hadn’t been up there for a few years and as I was getting towards the top I was just taking shots as I went higher and higher.

As chance would have it, one of them was Romain Grosjean sliding through the corner and I managed to get it. Annoyingly I didn’t get him actually hitting the wall because one of the struts obstructed my view. A lot of people liked this shot as it’s a different view you don’t often get to see.

An Early Bath

Camera – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/500th of a second | Aperture – F5.6 | ISO – 1600

I was up in the stands to do an atmospheric shot. I had done the grid, done the line-up shot of them all lined up for the national anthem, and literally legged it round the back to get up to this vantage point. You go across a bridge and passed hospitality but I managed to find a spot — but when it’s this crowded you’re worried about people around you maybe getting in the way of the shot.

Luckily I had enough space to pan down the grid as they all pulled away. I didn’t actually see the crash initially, I just heard the crowd screaming as it did happen, and the next minute there was a car lying in the middle of the road. Right after it happened I switched to the 500 for the shots of Nico Hulkenberg climbing out of his car and walking away. When I got back to the media centre I initially sent those shots back and then thought, ‘I wonder if I got the crash?’ I looked through and sure enough I did have the sequence, which was a nice surprise and turned out to be a really good shot.

Flying Ferrari

Camera – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/30th of a second | Aperture – F16 | ISO – 1600

This is part of Sebastian Vettel’s fight through the field, probably the most entertaining part of the race aside from the end. This is shot on the run down to the first corner and as soon as they go off the racing line with a full tank of fuel it’s bang, bang, bang with all the sparks out of the back of the car, which is very impressive visually. This is just another panned shot as he’s come past me.

Because I could see the sparks I dropped the shutter speed down to a 30th of a second, which is really low, focused on my spot and panned through where I thought the sparks were. It basically gives you the movement and creates an effect on the spark, it effectively enhances them as they come out the back of the car. I don’t know exactly why the cars spark so much in Singapore but they have not re-layed the track since 2008 and that makes a huge difference — something I wish was the case at other circuits in F1 these days.

Pre-Race Pleasantries

Camera – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 70-200mm | F2.8 | Shutter speed – 1/30th of a second | Aperture – F16 | ISO – 1600

This one was a bit strange. Lewis Hamilton came onto the grid really, really late. You could see he was a bit tense, I got a shot of him climbing into the car and then he got out again, took the helmet off and spoke to his engineers. Initially I thought that would be it because most of the drivers run off to the toilet before the grid but he didn’t, he stayed there.

The chairman of Manchester City was there as well, and he shook Lewis’ hand, and then Rio Ferdinand saw him and called over. They must have been talking for five-ten seconds and I was just shooting as they spoke, I probably got six frames. It’s a nice picture and it’s good to see a bit of emotion between them, smiles on the faces, but you’re always looking for these moments between the drivers and other sports people and dignitaries on the grid.

Chase Carey Gets Himself Acquainted

Camera – Nikon | D5 Lens – Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter Speed – 1/250th | Aperture – F6.3 | ISO – 1600

I didn’t see Chase Carey on the Friday but I know he got absolutely mobbed when he arrived. This was on Saturday, I was wandering around the paddock and suddenly Carey turned up with an entourage which included CVC’s Donald Mackenzie. He was being shown around and introduced to various people and Ron Dennis came over to say hello before the Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo came over as well. There was a funny moment when Carey said “It’s a really good race you put on here”, despite the fact Hachigo works for Honda and not the grand prix! Clearly he’s having a steep learning curve. It was interesting to see how much attention there was around him and to see Bernie Ecclestone’s reaction to it all, I don’t think he’s used to not being the centre of attention in the paddock.

Back On Top

Camera – Nikon D5 | Lens – Nikkor 500mm F4 | Shutter Speed – 1/500th of a second | ISO – 1600

This is becoming Nico Rosberg’s trademark podium jump. It’s always a good shot, one I got after doing the finish shot along the main straight. There were supposed to be fireworks going off down the main straight but they didn’t seem to work! So I did that, and I thought ‘right, this is a good chance to run down to the podium’, so I picked up my kit and ran down to the end.

I managed to get a great spot. You need to be ready for Rosberg’s jump shot because he does it every race. I got the 500 lens out and sure enough he came in, waved to the crowd and then jumped. I shot about eight frames within a split second and it gets a great shot. There were some guys next to me taking pictures on their phones and I showed them how much better the shots are from the camera but it’s great they let fans get so close to the action.

Life Through a Lens: Belgium and Italy

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his six favourite shots from Spa and Monza.

Catch Me If You Can

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/320th of a second | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO: 200

This was an amusing moment at the end of the race. This guy was a fire marshal at the far end of the straight, and when the race ended and the fans poured on to the track for the podium ceremony he was in no mood to hang around. For some reason he had this scooter with him and he just bolted. It’s something different but also nice because you can see the fans sprinting down to get the best view of the podium, one of the things that makes races like Spa — in traditional F1 heartland — so special compared to some of the newer additions to the calendar.

The Best Corner In F1?

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/250th of a second with flash | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO: 1600

I went out to Eau Rouge on Friday afternoon and it is still truly breathtaking, regardless of what people say about the new cars. It’s still an amazing corner to go to, you don’t get a real sense of the speed until you are sat right there watching them fly past you. The great bit about standing here, on the inside of the bottom of the hill, is you can see the line they take through the rest of the corner. If you look closely you can see it on the road further up. I chose this shot because the car is blurry, adding to the sense of how fast they are going at this point.

The Line Of Duty

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/250th of a second | Aperture: F4 | ISO: 1600

There was a lot more security for the race at Spa — it was very obvious when you were there, with armed police all over the place. That sort of thing has the potential to unnerve some people. While he was signing autographs, Lewis Hamilton went over to one of them and signed his overalls on the arm. It was a nice moment — it took away some of the tension of them being there, and the soldier really seemed to appreciate it. Any moment you can capture a driver being normal, doing something you don’t tend to see on the cameras, is a great shot because it makes them seem more human rather than just these stars driving fast cars.

Farewell, Felipe

Camera: NikonD5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter Speed: 1/640th of a second | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO: 200

Everyone agrees Felipe Massa is one of the nice guys of the paddock and this was a lovely send-off for him at Monza. I’ve never seen a spontaneous ovation for a driver at a press conference but that’s what he got after his initial statement. He was clearly emotional about it and had his whole family at the front row.

There were a few jokes about his son, Felipinho, being in Formula One one day, but Massa’s wife didn’t look too happy with the suggestion! I suppose Massa now has an enviable situation in that he can do whatever he wants, stock cars in Brazil, Formula E, maybe even go into management. I think he’ll be missed by F1, a rare character and people forget how close he came to being a world champion.

Changing Fortunes

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 | Shutter Speed:1/125th of a second | Aperture: F16 | ISO: 200

I was going to pick a podium shot for Nico Rosberg but this picture stood out as telling a nicer story from the Italian Grand Prix. This is just after qualifying, and Hamilton had just taken pole by half a second. Rosberg was clearly miffed how his teammate could be so much faster and after qualifying he sat looking at the timing screens, wondering where on earth Hamilton had found the time.

On Sunday he got the start right, Hamilton got it wrong, and that turned the momentum back in his favour but Rosberg must wonder what he has to do to beat Lewis on days like Saturday. It’s also a nice shot because 24 hours later he was on the podium celebrating a win, something he probably didn’t imagine when he was sat there.