Mark Sutton – Life Through The Lens – United States and Mexico Grand Prix – Champion again

Mark Sutton – Life Through The Lens – United States and Mexico Grand Prix – Champion again

Veteran F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks through his favourite shots from the recent double header in the U.S. and Mexico.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F8 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom

Champion again

I got to the Lewis Hamilton celebration quite late. All year he’s been running away from the champagne after the Mercedes victory shot. This time he probably thought as he’d won the championship there’s no point running away; he just stood there and they doused him. Not just him, either, the man on the left is spraying the champagne towards me and just after this covered my lens with it. I took some shots of Lewis on the shoulders of his engineers later and it still had droplets on it.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F20 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom

Weather warning

The weekend was a bit of a disaster, really, with one session cancelled and qualifying completely delayed. This sign was taken across from the pit lane, and I thought it was a good picture because there’s still people sat there in the stand despite the warning. This was obviously for the lightning, which had stopped the afternoon Friday session because the marshals weren’t allowed to go out on track due to local Texas law.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F18 | Lens: 500mm telephoto

A near miss

This was an amazing moment in the pits during Friday practice. I’m shooting on a long lens further down the pit lane, you can see the light from the Red Bull pit box, and saw Bottas coming down the pit lane and he was in complete opposite lock when he entered the pit box. The guy at the front is jumping in the air and the guy in front is moving out of the way as well – the Sky cameraman must have been bricking a bit as well because he really came in out of shape. In Indycar you see messier pit stops quite a lot but not so much in Formula One so this was a nice sequence of shots to get and thankfully nobody was hurt. In the pits you are always watching what’s going on around you but it is always a good spot for shots because things like this can happen at any moment.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/160s | Aperture: F5.6 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom

Champions past and present

This was another lucky moment in the pit lane. This is on Thursday at around 4-5 o’clock and usually the pit lane is usually pretty empty. I was walking down the pit lane and saw Lewis Hamilton being interviewed and initially didn’t click that it was with Nigel Mansell. When I noticed I saw there weren’t too many other cameramen around but it was rare for Lewis because he was more relaxed and laughing and joking — I think drivers feel more relaxed around former drivers than around journalists because they can relate. Mansell did a great job all weekend promoting the event and I thought this was a good move from Sky to get the two speaking to each other, you can tell there is a mutual respect between the pair of them. Lewis was so relaxed he didn’t tell us to go away!

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5 | Lens: 10.5mm fish eye

Fan festival

This is an amazing section of the circuit. The organisers did an incredible job — on Friday alone there was 89,000 people at the circuit and this bit was like a party atmosphere all weekend. I went here on Friday because there was rain predicted for the rest of the weekend so this was the best opportunity for a good shot of the stadium. I knew exactly where to go because I had gone around on Wednesday to find the best spot. My brother Keith was on the far right shooting there but I decided to go in the middle. The fans were amazing, they were helpful, they moved out of the way if you were taking shots. Like the drivers said on the podium it was like a football stadium. The grandstand is just concrete, no steps at all, and no cover over it either but everyone was there having a good time watching the F1. You can see that section being sold out every year we go back to Mexico.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s |Aperture: F6.3 | Lens: 500mm telephoto

Number one

This is where I have come back into the stadium for the end of the race. Annoyingly I had been at the section where Sebastian Vettel went off but missed that by a couple of minutes so I could set up the final shot. I was there for 12 laps or so at the end and the roar each time they came round was incredible. Nico Rosberg didn’t do a donut in that final section but it was the perfect spot to do it, there was one of those hanging cameras and the ‘Welcome back to Mexico’ sign on the tarmac. You could see how much it all meant to Rosberg being back on that top step and this was a nice moment for him, celebrating on his car as the fans chanted his name.