Brazilian Goodbyes

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the Brazilian Grand Prix


Massa’s massive cake

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 3.2 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom | Exposure: 1/320 sec © Sutton Images


This was to celebrate Massa’s ten years in Formula One and 100 races for Ferrari. Quite a few drivers turned up: Barrichello, Alonso, Schumacher turned up, quite a few Sauber people turned up too because his whole career has been just Sauber and Ferrari. It was a massive cake, absolutely massive, with loads of cars and logos on it. His wife was there with their little boy, and his parents and everyone clapped him when he arrived, it was really nice. This was on the Saturday night after qualifying and then Ferrari gave him an engine cover signed by all the team and the drivers which was a nice little surprise for him.



Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 4.5 | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Exposure: 1/125 sec © Sutton Images


I know I’ve mentioned this before but this photo just displays the number of people getting involved in running the track. For every person who submits their time for running a lap, UBS donates money to the Make A Wish Foundation, and the total passed $190,000 at Interlagos. There was at least 100 people there doing this run, and there’s also some competition too as you post your times online. Out technician – Matthew Kingston-Lee – is a very quick runner and he’s won every race except Monaco, which unfortunately he didn’t run because it was too dangerous and he didn’t have time before the sessions. This was one of the group runs, which I’ve done this year because they donate $300 per person. I’ve been encouraged to do them all next year but I’m not exactly fit for it! At the start we were all lined up and Keith stood 50 metres down the straight to get a shot but I ran at him really fast and burnt myself out immediately! But there’s great camaraderie; I came in second last but they all stayed to cheer me in – I wasn’t worried about the time it was all about getting the charity money. We even won the team championship, but it’s more an individual thing that even team members like Ciaron Pilbeam do and it’s for a great cause.


Hamilton and Massa

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark III | Aperture: 6.3 | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Exposure: 1/300 sec © Sutton Images


I was really lucky to get this shot. I had gone in to the paddock to do the Red Bull team celebration shot, and all of a sudden I saw Lewis go over to him so I just went in there with my camera – bang bang bang – three frames and that was all I got. This is the first frame I got of them hugging, and I don’t think anybody else got it. I saw it happen, I got something of it, you can see there’s some contact and a bit of a smile between the two of them; it’s the perfect picture as far as I’m concerned. The hug would have been nice – it’s sort of half a hug – but I don’t think anyone else got anything. Felipe was literally doing interviews for the Brazilian media, and the door on the left is McLaren so Lewis literally just popped in and shook hands whispered “sorry” or something like that in his ear, and it’s a nice shot. It really tells a story. I was lucky to get it to be honest, and it’s cropped up, it’s literally a frame out of nothing. If you think there’s 70 photographers in F1 you’re lucky to get an exclusive nowadays but that is certainly an exclusive and it ends the feud of the season.


Brazilian podium

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark III | Aperture: 10.0 | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Exposure: 1/500 sec © Sutton Images


The podium’s really set back in Brazil, and it’s such a big podium that they split it and you literally walk through the podium. It’s the only podium where they do that because you normally come round the side of it. That caught a lot of people out, so when Webber did his jump he did it almost immediately and people weren’t ready! This is basically after the presentations, they light the podium to lift the shadows and then they spray all this tickertape in to the air before starting some music. It just creates a great atmosphere as the podium’s going on, and you can see all the people’s hands going up in the air as the champagne is sprayed. You’ve also got the lovely blue sky in the background and parc ferme down below where the cars are, so it creates a really atmospheric picture as I would call it. We’re well stationed in Brazil on huge platforms and it was just a perfect end to the season.


Schumacher’s shredded tyre

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 9.0 | Lens: 600mm telephoto | Exposure: 1/640 sec © Sutton Images

I really like this shot because they tyre is just shredded to bits. Our guy was on the back straight and he had a shot of it when the tyre was still intact, so he’s done a complete lap on it and it’s almost fallen off here. It’s amazing he didn’t damage the suspension like Vettel did in Abu Dhabi. I was at the hairpin and he came round with it flapping away, and he was going quite slowly so I was able to just motor-drive it as he came in. I always go on about it but it was so good that I had the Fanvision available to me. There are no screens in Brazil and obviously no commentary for us so I just use it to listen to the 5Live commentary, and I heard “Schumacher and Bruno Senna clash at the first corner, but Schumacher continues…” so I took it out of my pocket and could just follow him round the circuit. That meant I knew which lens to have and be fully prepared. No other photographer has one as far as I know so it gives me a little bit of an edge. 


Celebrating champions

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 4.0 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom | Exposure: 1/320 sec © Sutton Images

What happened here was Red Bull decided to do something different rather than do the celebration shot in front of the garage, and the podium was the perfect place. They even got the lights put back on which was pretty amazing, and there was plenty of tickertape left from the podium ceremony so they just scooped it up and through it in the air in celebration. We just went back on the photographers towers and the whole team was up there, so it was pretty perfect. What this does is it gives you a team picture. It’s all about teamwork at the end of the day, it’s not just the drivers that win the championships it’s the mechanics and engineers, catering staff, management, Renault; it’s about everyone who’s involved in the team at the end of the day. There will be an event in Milton Keynes to celebrate the factory people next month, but I know that a lot of the teams have already got their 2012 chassis built and they’re now building parts for next season. It’s been such a long season but it just doesn’t stop. They’ll be manufacturing parts during December, have the cars put together in January and launched ahead of testing in February. It just doesn’t stop!


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