F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the Korean Grand Prix
Ferrari’s new front wing
This shot was taken on Saturday morning as Ferrari tested its new front wing with a load of aero paint sprayed over it. The silly thing is that they were trying to hide it by surrounding the front of the car with mechanics, but we managed to get pictures of it both on the track and in the pit lane. You can see nine mechanics around the car on Saturday, but by that time we already had pictures of it from the day before. I was listening to David Croft on Radio 5 Live and he was saying “Why are they bothering when there are pictures all over the internet and on the desks of the other team’s technical directors”. More than anything, the added secrecy attracts more attention and we’ve seen that before in testing over the winter. It was a funny moment and makes for a good couple of pictures, one without the mechanics blocking it and one with.
I like this photo because Seb Vettel is bending at the knees in order to get the champagne in Christian Horner’s eyes. Christian is shielding himself with his hands, but I don’t why because Seb’s fully at it. I was in a privileged position above the podium so we managed to get something a bit different from up there and I was in the perfect place to capture this moment. It really helps that they light the podium in Korea and last year it was a God-send because it was so bloody dark after the rain delay. This year it wasn’t as bad but having the light there just lifts the podium pictures and I’m surprised they don’t do it at very race. Here you can see that the light is illuminating Seb’s face, which you wouldn’t have seen so clearly in normal daylight.
This was in parc ferme after the race. I’d done all the celebration shots and out of the corner of my eye I just caught the FIA race director and chief technical delegate Charlie Whiting checking over the Red Bull. He was taking a close look at the diffuser and the exhaust, but you’d think he’d know about the car already and I was quite amazed that he was paying so much attention to it. I got a good sequence of photos of him checking out all aspects of the rear of the car and it was nice to see him at work and being inquisitive. At first I was a bit hesitant to put the pictures up because I wasn’t sure about the rules regarding photos in parc ferme, but the FIA said it was fine. So I didn’t get in any trouble and it’s another behind-the-scenes shot, which is the kind of thing I like to put in these columns.
This is taken right from the back of the first corner grandstand. The reason I went there was to try and get the lovely bridge at the back of the shot. It’s a beautiful structure and must have cost them millions; it’s made out of really heavy wood that you can smell as you walk through. People don’t see the inside but it’s really nicely finished with huge beams and metal rivets. It’s the only iconic structure at the circuit at the moment and it’s great that you can get it in the same picture as the start. But I had to go right to the top of the grandstand because if you were to take the same shot from ground level you would have got the Pirelli banner in the way. It was good to see a packed grandstand and they estimated that 79,000 people were there on race day, which is impressive when you consider how far the track is from Seoul. Having said that, some of them still don’t seem to get it because I saw coaches arriving with fans midway through the race!
This was taken during the autograph signing, and again it was nice to get a photo with the bridge in the background. In the photo you can see Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna, which for most fans is fairly obvious, but the organisers still insisted on putting name tags out for each driver. It’s like no-one knows who they are! I think they know the top drivers pretty well but they might not be so familiar with the smaller-name drivers so they made sure they had a name tag for each of them.
The problem with Lewis
Throughout the weekend there was this ongoing question of what was going on with Lewis. He was very subdued after he took pole position and appeared glum and miserable all weekend. But that actually makes us take more photos of him because there’s a story there and journalists keep asking him more and more questions about it. In this photo he was just walking down the paddock after the press conference on Thursday and it was almost like the paparazzi had turned up. On the grid his behaviour was even more bizarre. He was in a world of his own and sat down next to the pit wall while marketing people blocked the photographers from getting near him. I don’t know what’s up with him, no-one really knows, but I’m sure we’ll find out in due course.