Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Over before it began

 

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Over before it began
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks through his favourite shots from the Singapore Grand Prix

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640 s | Aperture : F4 | ISO speed: 1600 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto

Going nowhere fast

This was obviously when Nico Rosberg failed to start on the formation lap. I was on the tower here so the shot is miles away but its perhaps the most important in the context of the race, which hadn’t even started by this point! I quickly had to change lens because I had a reasonably small lens ready for the start, so I was lucky to get him being wheeled off the grid and then later on in the pits. We didn’t know what the hell was going on from up there to be perfectly honest but knew it was effectively race over and another twist to the season for Mercedes with their complications and controversy this year. It was quite surprising to see it happen. It didn’t help the start shot to be honest because the one we got ended up looking like Lewis Hamilton was miles ahead, and Fernando Alonso running wide made it even worse from a picture quality point of view. These shots of Rosberg tell the story and will be a picture used throughout the year as it’s part of the championship tale.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/100 s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 1000 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom

A watchful eye

This is interesting because I’ve never seen Sir Frank Williams in the pit lane like this before. Obviously, the car isn’t going out, this is a practice pit stop – but it is misleading! I think this was Thursday night, people tend to work really late because it’s a good time to practice pit stops in the dark. Obviously there are lights on but it’s a chance to do it with shadows around. I think Frank was interested, he didn’t want to stay in the garage and I don’t blame him. At one point Valtteri Bottas was doing some filming at one point for Sky Sports F1 but I missed him. I was the only photographer there, saw something going down in Williams and saw Sir Frank and realised it would make quite a nice low-down angle shot. Important to make it known it’s not a real-life pit stop, though!

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000 s | Aperture: F3.5 | ISO speed: 3200 | Lens: 14-24mm zoom

Evening in Singapore

This was FP1, the session where it goes from daylight to darkness. I did the first 30 minutes – which are daylight – in the pits but thought there was no point going out at that point. By the time I did the black clouds had come out and there’s no real sunset, you can see that here as it’s not lit very well. It would be better if they lit it all better. This is around 7.00/7.15 in the evening, so about halfway through the session. There’s the lights of the circuit and the little bit of light in the background. This is at the last corner, and I’m shooting through a little gap in the advertising hoardings cut out by people from the media centre. They didn’t cut out any of the ‘Singapore Airlines’ wording but the blue just above it that we have to squeeze through. They’re good in Singapore in keeping the media and photographers happy.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/400 s | Aperture: F5 | ISO speed: 3200 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom

A close-run thing

This is what I call ‘the moment’. I was to the side there, not doing the head-on shot. I was doing side-on angle hoping that I could then get Lewis walking down the side, which I did afterwards. This one was captured quite well because it wasn’t completely blocked by Daniel Ricciardo, you can see his hand on the left. People doing the head-on shot probably got quite a lot of it shot. There’s eye contact, a little bit of a smile because it was so damn close between them in qualifying. This was really more about the eye contact, the high five – there’s a sequence of it and on this one I’ve cropped Ricciardo out, because it’s about the two Mercedes drivers rather than him. This was the picture of qualifying for me, it was an emotional shot. It seems like they are being a little friendlier, though whether that’s a PR job from Mercedes and Toto Wolff I don’t know. But this is the first time they’ve seen each other in parc ferme and reacted like this in a while.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000 s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 3200| Lens: 70-200mm zoom

Hunters and the hunted

This is another one where I’ve taken a shot through that hole in the fence. This is about a 12-inch gap that I have to poke my head through, lean out and shoot down the track. I was here for the finish shot but there were some close battles going on. I knew I had to get something because there were really no other photographers on track at this point. Just before this I had one of Sebastian Vettel leading Hamilton – that is important in telling the story of the race of course because he didn’t lead for every lap. This one is just as important in telling the story as not many people had pictures of this train of cars and obviously this was a battle which came alive in the final laps. I like the shot because Raikkonen’s DRS looks like it’s in the process of opening, meaning he’s just crossing that line, while Sergio Perez hasn’t quite hit the mark yet. Then in the background you have Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne rounding the corner.

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800 s | Aperture: F4.5 | ISO speed: 1600 | Lens: 500mm telephoto

A different kind of facial

This is an amusing podium shot because Vettel is getting a face-full of champagne. This champagne part went on for ages, actually. Vettel is in focus, Hamilton is not, but I was shooting away here because that part of the ceremony was going on for such a long period of time. They were spraying and spraying, Vettel had got Hamilton so here was just payback. In this picture Vettel is putting his hands up but Hamilton has got the angle of his fingers absolutely perfectly and he’s just dousing him completely. When they were interviewed just after that Vettel was still rubbing his eyes, so he must have got him good and proper. So it’s an amusing one and the best from that podium ceremony.

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