Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Magic at Monza

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his six favourite shots from the Italian Grand Prix

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/125s | Aperture: F2.8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom

Super Mario

These photos are for the promotion of the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mario Andretti is such a legend that when he turns up the drivers want to be involved. If you’re trying to get them to wear a funny hat for no good reason it might be a bit difficult, but with Mario there the drivers want to talk and engage with him. He’s such a gentleman and very open and easy to talk to. The story was that he was the sheriff and he wanted some deputies for the grand prix. So at each team he had two deputies wearing the cowboy hats. The only team that didn’t take part was Mercedes, but after what happened in Spa-Francorchamps you might be able to understand why!

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F5 ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom

The man himself

This was a great moment and has obviously become a more relevant photo this week! I was in the media scrum waiting for him in the pits and I tried to attract his attention by shouting at him. I went “Luca! Luca!” and he then put his hand up towards me and looked directly down my lens. He then went on to the pit wall and started pumping his fist to get the crowd going. The TV cameras missed it the first time, but he was only too happy to do it again. He’s a very charismatic personality and he loves himself a bit, but he will be missed.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed : 1000 | Lens: 70-200 zoom

A legend watches on

It was good to see John Surtees at Monza and as an ex-Ferrari driver with links to Shell he probably spends quite a lot of time there. At this moment he was in Sebastian Vettel’s garage and I think they get on quite well because Seb has a lot of respect for all the old drivers and the history of the sport. I think when the current drivers get in the old cars they often think, ‘how the hell did they drive these’ because it’s so much more about the driver being on his own without assistance. John is very respected in the paddock and always has a story to tell, but the final bit of this story was that he was on my EasyJet flight on the way back!

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed: 200

Racing at Rettifilio

There were a lot of overtakes into the first corner, so it was a great position to be. I didn’t even have to change lens, I just kept on the 70-200mm, which is small lens to use. I couldn’t see the point of changing the lens because as they enter the corner they are a long way away and as they exit it they are quite tight. So if you want to capture the action throughout you have to use a zoom lens. You just have to be prepared, because once the DRS kicked in it was just one overtake after another. Nobody went flying over the kerbs, but Valtteri Bottas did have to skip the chicane in his battle with Kevin Magnussen.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F10 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom

A game changing moment

This was the moment when Nico Rosberg locked up during the race, handing victory to Lewis Hamilton. Obviously he then went through the chicane, but the moment he locked up is the picture as far as I’m concerned. The fact he did it twice helps, but I had a good spot to catch him with the tyre smoke pouring off the rubber. People started talking about whether he did it on purpose, but I think that’s rubbish and just a result of people looking for a story. For me stood there it could have ended with a nice overtaking move or a crash, but the important thing was that I was there for the moment when it happened. The good news is that Lewis is keeping the championship alive and will keep trying to come back until the last race.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 400mm telephoto

To the victor, the spoils

You have a backlit background to this podium shot, which makes it a nice photo. I actually shot it from an open window I found in the media centre, but the Monza podium is a semicircle, so you are never sure which side they are going to be on and whether you will get a clean shot. You have to hope they come towards you. It’s a risk and I didn’t know where I was going to shoot from, but this window in one of the offices gave a perfect angle.

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