April 18, 2012
F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his six favourite shots from a Chinese Grand Prix which saw Mercedes emerge as winners
Bernie on Bahrain
Bernie was hounded all weekend by the media because of the Bahrain situation. I quite like this top one of the back of his head because you can just see what a scrum it is. You’ve got the journalists and photographers on the left and the TV crews – the BBC and Sky being the most prominent – on the right. He was really the only person – although he’s not FIA he’s FOM – who was talking. It was an FIA decision and obviously we’ll be going, there’s a lot of people there already and there’s no issues at the moment so it should be a good weekend. I think because of the battle in China everyone’s now looking forward to another good race. The top shot of Bernie was on Friday, and then Jean Todt arrived on Saturday so we managed to get a great shot of them posed up together which is quite unusual. So that was good to get; I had to be there at the right time with the right lens but I managed to get right on pole position for that one.
When the nosecone fell off Timo Glock’s Marussia on Friday he also locked his tyres, and literally both sides have kept locked up in to the gravel. Usually you just get one side that locks up more than the other due to the balance of the car, but on this instance they both did to the point where they’ve gone down to the furthest element of the rubber. It was incredible, when I saw it there I thought ‘Blimey that’s serious damage’, and it was just left at the end of the pit lane because they couldn’t bring it back down the pit lane for some reason. So I just wandered over and took a few shots, and I just thought it was quite nice to show that because you rarely get that close to cars nowadays. The Shanghai track is just vast, and you’re miles away from the action in most places in China.
Massa’s goodbye kiss
This was on a long lens as Massa was walking down the paddock. She was going off to do something else and he was going in to his debrief on the Saturday morning and I just managed to capture them. The paddock’s great in China because it’s so wide and you can sit there with your 500-600mm lens and just pap people off from a distance. This was a great one just to capture them having a nice kiss just before he goes to work, like you would do with your wife or your girlfriend in the morning! As you can see in the right of the frame there’s a camera crew just about to get in my picture. Luckily I just managed to fire one off before they got in to the next frame. The problem with the long lens is people don’t look behind them, so they just wander in and sometimes they can just ruin your picture.
This just shows you how bad the marbles were in China, and tyres played such a crucial role in the race. This photo actually got used as the closing shot in GP Week this week. I was trying to get an angle somewhere around the track that showed all the debris because it was horrendous. When a car went off-line … well Raikkonen showed it didn’t he? He lost five places in one lap, and if you go off line you’re in real trouble. It was all about finding the spot, and as I was wandering back for the finish shots I could see it there. I shot a couple through the fence at first, and then there was a marshal’s post, so I just thought ‘well that works really, really well’.
Pit lane race
I thought this top 2010 shot was relevant because it’s so similar! I’m just amazed they’re allowed to go side-by-side down the pit lane. I was just lucky; I saw it happen and couldn’t believe it had happened again while I was there in the same spot! It’s a slightly different lens, it was a 600 back then and this is on a 500 so slightly smaller in the frame, and it’s been cropped up a little bit as well. It’s amazing how the pit stops became apparent throughout the race and obviously carrying track position really paid off. It was good to be in that spot – I don’t know whether anybody else got it – but it could have been a crash at the end of the pit lane there. It’s just quite nice to compare it to the 2010 shot I got.
It’s not quite the same finger salute as Vettel but he’s getting there! I think this works really well because it’s an atmosphere/team picture as well as being a driver shot. You sort of get the two bits in the same picture and I think it really shows that it’s not always about seeing the face or seeing the eyes, it’s about the team as well. Formula One is about teamwork and they’ve obviously put a lot in to it in terms of preparation and the pitstops and stuff like that, so it’s a good celebration shot that I got to finish the race.