Sebastian Vettel had a rare accident on Friday morning after putting a wheel on the Astroturf at the exit of turn eight and spinning into the barriers. I saw it on the TV in the HRT garage while I was shooting Tonio Liuzzi and immediately ran down the pit lane to see if I could get a photo of Vettel or the car as they returned to the pits. The car turned up first so I took out my wide angle lens and started snapping off as many photos as I could from different angles. The next minute the marshals were saying “No pictures”, but it was in the middle of the pit lane so I ignored them – like the rest of the photographers there – and started shooting underneath their arms! Then the Red Bull mechanics tried to stop us taking pictures and started throwing the grass at us that was plastered to the car! They would probably say they were just picking off the grass but it was a good way for them to try to stop us taking pictures. I suppose this picture is quite interesting to the other teams because you can actually see the weave of the carbon fibre where the nose is broken.
Bernie vs grid girl
I saw Bernie Ecclestone on the grid on Sunday and thought I’d follow him down to the front, taking photos as he walked along. At one point he nearly got run over by Felipe Massa and shouted “Mr Ecclestone, there’s a Ferrari coming down the grid!” He just turned around and waved at Massa as if to say “I’m the boss here, you get out of the way”. I stayed with him until he got to pole position and was about to leave but no one was chucking me off so I thought I’d hang around. Then Bernie tried to get hold of the Turkish flag from this grid girl and I don’t know if she knew who he was because she looked a bit confused. She soon gave it to him and he stood there with it for the national anthem. I thought it was going to be some kind of announcement about the future of the circuit because all the TV cameras were down there, but it turned out it was just an impromptu photo shoot.
Button blur action
This shot was taken with a slow shutter speed but at one of the fastest parts of the circuit. It’s taken in the DRS zone from a bank that gives you a view through some catch fencing with the empty grandstand behind. You hear the car coming first of all and then you can pan it along the straight for 300 metres before they come to the next corner. The result is this sort of blur-action shot, which looks really nice with the colourful grandstand behind. This was taken on Saturday morning when we had perfect sunshine and I just felt that I had to go out from the pits where I usually work and on to the circuit.
Posing with the grid girls
This was a funny shot of the Force India tyre mechanic, Neil Dickie. I think he deserves a mention because nobody else wanted their photo taken with the girls and he was brave enough to go in there and strike a pose. He looked round to make sure no other mechanics were watching because he didn’t want to get whistled at and then said “I’ll nip over so you can get a shot”. It was just so funny because he pulled the perfect pose and one girl behind him couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve known Neil for about 20 years, he worked on sports car projects for Aston Martin and then at Stewart GP, Jaguar and Red Bull after that. He’s quite a character and loves having his rock music on full blast in his section of the garage while everyone in the main part is listening to some kind of pop music or hip hop.
This is a great action shot during the grand prix. I spent most of the race at the first corner but was starting to feel that I was in the wrong spot because all the action was happening in the DRS zone. Last year they didn’t have the DRS and the first corner saw a lot more action, such as the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button for the lead. But this year most drivers got the move completed before the corner or would drop off and wait another lap to overtake in the DRS zone – at least that’s what it looked like from my position. In this shot the two battling are Jenson Button and Felipe Massa and Vitaly Petrov is actually ahead. But it’s a great picture because it looks like they are three abreast and you can see the dirt being chucked up behind the McLaren and Ferrari as they move off the racing line. Obviously it’s shot against the sun, which we try to avoid when possible, but I love the heat haze, the mirror-like mirage across the surface of the track and the fact there is a decent-size crowd in the background.
There were some great signs and posters in the grandstands over the weekend such as “I love you”, “Marry me” and “Come, come, my blonde, come” – although I couldn’t tell you what that last one means. And obviously there was the one that says “Bernie, please don’t take away our Turkish GP” which was particularly relevant. Some of the fans started shouting my name because they must have recognised me and wanted a photo of them to be published all around the world. There was one guy who kept shouting at me and then added me on Facebook and followed me on Twitter!