Mark Sutton – Life Through A Lens – Austrian Grand Prix – Eyes on the prize

Mark Sutton – Life Through A Lens – Austrian Grand Prix – Eyes on the prize

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite shots from the Austrian Grand Prix.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/160s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 1600

Eyes on the prize

This was a great shot through the new McLaren garage screen – it’s picture perfect. I got down low and could see Fernando Alonso’s eyes perfectly in the middle of the gap. When I started first of all it was quite dark because the mechanics were all around him and it caused a bit of a shadow. When they moved away the shadow went and I was able to get this shot. I love this picture because you can’t do it with most teams, if you want a cockpit shot you need to go and do it from the side on. It’s just the visor, the Schuberth logo either side of his eyes. It’s on a long lens so you get slight blurring from the front of the chassis. It’s something different from a race weekend that you’re always looking for.

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1600s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 400

High flyer

This is Pastor Maldonado getting a bit of air through Turn 1. It’s good to talk about Maldonado at the moment because he’s on a bit of a run and was having a good battle with Max Verstappen. He was fighting hard but within the rules, I would say. He gets a lot of criticism but he should get the plaudits when he drives well like he did in Austria. This shot shows just how hard he was pushing, it’s a good image of him coming through the first corner and you can see both his front tyres are off the ground. You can also see just how steep the hill running up to Turn 2 is in the background, which is lost slightly when you see it on TV.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed: 500

A meeting of minds

I was really lucky to get this shot and I’m glad I did. Sometimes if you just stay in the paddock a little while longer after a session finishes you can end up with a real gem. I was in no rush as I felt I’d got some good pictures, got a tip off that Ron and Sir Frank were outside the McLaren garage, and thought ‘bloody hell, that’s a great picture’. They used to talk a lot in the old days, in the old motorhomes. It was a great picture because Ron sat on the steps and Frank is looking directly at him. At one point Ron moved right towards him so no-one could hear what they were talking about. These two are famous and revered men in the sport but it’s rare to get them having a candid moment together like this.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 1000

A silent champion…

This is another Lewis Hamilton rant. I didn’t like it after qualifying when he stood there, hands behind his back not smiling despite the fact he’d got pole. It’s annoying for us photographers when he’s so unappreciative of the fact he got pole position. This picture is the following day on the drivers’ parade. I didn’t like them all bunched up on a bus anyway because it made good pictures more difficult, they looked like school kids awkwardly going to school. I noticed Lewis sat there listening to his music and nodding his head to the music and couldn’t believe it. Maybe he started waving to the fans afterwards but I can only shoot what’s going on in front of me. Hopefully they don’t do the bus again.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F10 | ISO speed: 400

…A jubilant contender

Nico Rosberg is great when he wins, he does a great spinning hand celebration which you can see him doing here. This is in front of the team and shows good emotion and passion. He’s pumped up for every victory and this shot is good because you capture the emotion of the team as well. You can see Lewis there as well with the team, everyone is clapping. Lewis was fine in the team celebrations; smiling, laughing and joking around. He couldn’t wait to run away because he thought he was going to get sprayed with champagne.


Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Canadian Grand Prix – That Winning Feeling

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Canadian Grand Prix – That Winning Feeling
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite shots from the Canadian Grand Prix.

Camera model : Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture : F5 | ISO speed: 400.

That winning feeling

This was my photo of the day. I got to the front and was actually the first photographer to get up to the area we are allowed to shoot from. Everyone went to the left and I went to the right as I knew there would be cameras obstructing the view the other way. I was able to get right to the top of our tower – if you look, I’m pretty much level with Lewis as I shoot this – and it makes a really nice shot with the spray.

Camera model: Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F11 | ISO speed : 400.

Thumbs up if you’re on pole

This is a really good shot of Lewis after qualifying. He’s jumped into the safety car because they don’t park in parc ferme like usual. He was just looking out of the window as he came past a group of us and I was really lucky that he was leaning out, smiling with his thumbs up. You’re always looking for something a bit different from a race weekend as well as something that tells the story of the day – this is a good shot because it ticks off both those things.

Camera model: Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed : 200

Method man

This is a good shot of actor Michael Fassbender and director Bryan Singer because as soon as they saw me shooting them on the grid, they got their iPhones out and started filming me! There was a sticker on the back of Fassbender’s phone which had his number written on it – this image is just after Singer points it out to him and they both start laughing. They are filming the new X-Men movie at the moment so it must have been given to him by the studio.

Camera model : Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F11 | ISO speed : 400.

A narrow escape

If you look really closely at the top, you can see a seagull not too far above the cars, directly above Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. Just before the start he had been stood right in the middle of the track on the entry to Turn 1. In the photographers’ area we were having a laugh about it because we wondered whether it would get out of the way in time. When the lights went out and the cars came roaring round the corner he flapped his wings and lifted off pretty quickly. It’s always a nice start shot in Canada, by this point Lewis was pretty comfortable going into Turn 1 and Rosberg was about to fend off a move from Raikkonen.

Camera model: Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F18 | ISO speed: 200.

But first, let me take a selfie

This is a good shot from Sunday’s driver parade. In Canada they usually stop some of the bigger names to do interviews at Turn 1 for the crowd there. I had been waiting by the turnstile to see if I could get Al Pacino, who I had heard would be attending, and anyone else who came through. After half an hour of waiting there I decided to risk it and just go to Turn 1 and see what sort of shot I could get there. When I got down there Lewis had finished one of his interviews and some of the marshals were asking him for a selfie – I held my camera up over my head and started shooting at an angle and managed to get this picture. It’s good to see the fans being able to get so close to the reigning world champion, especially with so much talk at the moment about improving the spectacle.

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Monaco Grand Prix – Joy and despair in the principality

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens – Monaco Grand Prix – Joy and despair in the principality
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks through his favourite shots from the Monaco Grand Prix.

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F10.

Backing up

This is where Nico Rosberg was holding the pack up behind the safety car before going for it. The funny thing with this was I was in the queue for the podium but was able to come back to where I’d been all race when the safety car out. That meant I missed Lewis Hamilton’s crucial pit stop because I didn’t think anyone would stop – why would you stop!? – so I ran to get pictures of the cars behind the safety car. It was all a bit of a debacle and this turned out to be the big story of the race. It’s still hard to understand why Mercedes decided to pit Lewis but watching it back you can see a few errors – he had a slow stop, he probably got caught behind the safety car. All in all, this moment was as big a surprise for the photographers as the fans because Lewis had been leading all race and suddenly was third.

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 70-200 F2.8 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5.6.

Contrasting emotions

This is a wider shot which really works because of the contrasting emotions for all three men. Everyone knew that he was a bit peeved off and when he came in and whacked the number three board I thought there could be fireworks. He’d also stopped at the circuit at Portier, so there was clearly a lot of emotion immediately after the race. Maybe he was thinking of getting out of his car and going straight to his flat! He definitely didn’t want to do that podium. He turned up, looked glum, didn’t want to spray champagne, didn’t want the trophy – in fact he left the trophy behind! It was just sat there and then they just picked it up and handed it to the Mercedes guys. He walked away from the celebrations with a bottle of champagne by his side. It was all a bit strange, this podium, it was Nico celebrating, Seb smiling and Lewis with a glum face. But anybody in that situation would have been worse; he was actually quite calm and professional about the whole thing.

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 200-400 F4 ED | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5.6.

Hat-trick celebrations

This is a classic Rosberg celebration shot. I don’t understand how some fans could be upset with the exuberance he celebrated with. At that moment, he’s won a race – it’s only after the race is done he would have seen the bare facts and he did admit on numerous occasions that the win was the luckiest of his career. Rosberg has a great habit of celebrating by swooping his arms around while pointing his fingers in the air. After all, he joined pretty elite company by winning this race for the third time in a row – only Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Graham Hill managed that. The celebration was good and you need to have that contrast between him and Lewis! I wanted to show it because that what this sport is about, winning and losing. His celebration reminds me of what German fans do with their flags before a football game, swinging them around their heads. It reminded me of what I saw when I watched Manchester United play Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp in 1999… though they all disappeared pretty quickly when United beat them that night!

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 70-200 F2.8 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F11.

Catch me if you can

You never know the sort of shot you’re going to get standing here. We always tend to put someone there in case there is a crash at Ste Devote, because if you’re on the tower there you’d actually miss anything that happens as it’s so small. It’s one of those positions where you’re never sure what could happen, all it takes is one tap and you’ve got a huge car park there. This is a nice shot as you have the contrast of colour and a real impression of how close they all file through that corner. It can be quite hair-raising because they’re coming at you flat-out as they file up the hill.

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F10.

Champagne Charlie

I’m really pleased with how this photo turned out. Without an elevated podium you never know what you’re going to get in Monaco but this captures quite nicely the moment – the melee for the photographers and the joy and eleation on Rosberg’s face. It’s a good shot and always nice to have the champagne celebrations on the track as it’s a bit different to the rest of the calendar.

Nikon D4s | Nikkor 24-70 F2.8 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F16.

Here come the girls

This is one one of what they call the Kardashian sisters – but she’s not Kardashian, she’s a Jenner, Kendall Jenner. There’s rumours that she’s Lewis Hamilton’s new girlfriend, actually. Monaco is a great place for celebrity sightings obviously but I got on the grid quite late as we had people on the grid anyway. You’ve got to walk the way down the pits to get to the grid, which is quite a long walk. When I got onto the grid I snapped a picture of Cara Delevingne, who had a lot of attention and was holding Lewis’ pit number alongside those grid boys. Then I saw this entourage of four girls strutting their stuff down the grid, it was like four catwalk models walking towards us and I papped a load of pictures off. I asked them if they didn’t mind stopping so I could get a better snap but they weren’t having any of it – I imagine they get quite tired of people with cameras.