Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Spanish Grand Prix – Flying the Flag

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Spanish Grand Prix – Flying the Flag
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks through his favourite shots from the Spanish Grand Prix.

Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F13 | ISO: 200 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom.

Flying the Flag

This was shot from one of my favourite spots for taking photos at the Circuit de Catalunya. From this hill you can get a great view of the cars in Turn 1 and then you can turn around and take a shot of Turn 6 as well. But when I got up there on Saturday morning a flag went up in front of me, so I moved to one side to change my angle and get a clear view again. Then more started to going up and one of the Spanish photographers started shouting to this fan to take them down as they were blocking our pictures. I was slightly worried about the view for the start of the race, but actually it created this great picture in which you can frame the cars using the flags. I waited for Fernando Alonso to come out or Carlos Sainz or Roberto Merhi, to make sure I got a picture of a Spanish driver with the Spanish flags. The blue flags are from the principality of Asturias where Alonso’s hometown of Oviedo is, so I took this photo of him perfectly framed between the six flags.

Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/60s | Aperture: F18 | ISO: 200 | Lens: 14-24mm Zoom.

Sun flare

This was a nice shot because I was shooting from low down into the sun to get this flare effect. You sometimes go for these shots when they are leaving the pit garage and I went down to Lotus because they had announced the Mad Max sponsorship on the side of the car. It creates a nice picture against the sun and I just happened to get there at the right time.

Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F19 | ISO: 200 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto.

Jostling for position

This photo was taken at the start of the race coming out of Turn 10. I’d decided to let another of our photographers take the photos of Turn 1 and Turn 6, which has been my normal position at the start of the race for the last 20 years! It was nice to experiment in another position and this seemed like a good spot to capture the train of traffic at the start of the race. I took some photos on the grid ahead of the start and then headed for Turn 10 where it is actually quite quiet. There wasn’t many fans in the grandstand and it was a bit quiet out there, but the on-track action is exciting at that part of the track with a heavy braking zone after the back straight and this view of the cars as they head for Turn 11. You only really get the cars grouped like this in the opening few laps, but it always makes a nice photo and it’s something a little different for the column.

Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F5 | ISO: 400 | Lens: 14-24mm Zoom.

A new winner for 2015

I haven’t taken a celebration picture for quite some time because I am usually editing photos after the race, but I thought I’d go along and do this one as I was ahead of myself at the time. I picked my place in the photographers’ scrum and I wanted to position myself as centrally as I could to the garage as the celebrations were getting ready. They wait for the driver to come from the TV pen, in this case Nico Rosberg, and once he turned up it was quite a nice little moment as he went down all the mechanics giving a high-five to them all and then he went in the middle and spun his finger in the air to get them celebrating. It’s something a bit different to the usual celebration shots, which tend to have the drivers immersed within the team. As far as I’m concerned, Rosberg’s win was good for the championship because we need variety and as tight a competition as possible for the title.