Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens 2015 – Part One

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens 2015 – Part One
F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his favourite shot of each race from the first half of the 2015 season.

Camera model: NIKON D4S | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F10 Flash | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom.


This just looks a bit sparse because there’s two more cars missing after Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat failed to make it to the grid. So it’s two more cars on top of Bottas, the two Marussia’s and even Caterham if you think back to 2014. So in theory it’s seven cars missing from last year and it looks a bit sparse. It’s sad because we need those cars on the grid to give the fans watching in the crowd a show. Despite the limited numbers its still a spectacular start shot because there’s the people in the background, that main grandstand is a great place for fans to sit. Obviously it was a sunny day, there’s Melbourne signs, there’s a blue sky – it’s your typical Melbourne shot, the sort of shot which will be used as a preview of the Australian Grand Prix in years to come. This is the first time I did that shot, I was originally down for Turn 2 until a last-minute change and I’m glad I did because it’s a nice final picture.

Nikon D4s Nikkor 24-70mm F11 1/250th ISO 200 with flash


I never heard from Lewis Hamilton after my last column, I was expecting a nod or something from the team! I had some positive comments about what I said last time and this is another bizarre Lewis moment. It’s the Malaysian national anthem and he has this insistence of carrying an umbrella. There’s nothing wrong with carrying one when it’s hot, but I still feel it’s a bit of an insult to the people and a bit disrespectful. The worst thing is he’s still wearing his hat, when none of the other drivers (aside from Max Verstappen) are. I was a bit bewildered looking at it. Worst of all, when I looked at the picture a bit closer he’s actually got his headphones in as well. So whether he knows the national anthem is even going on is another story! I tweeted about it and said it was a bit insulting to the Malaysian people. You know you’ve got to do it at every race, you know the score, if he’s got the umbrella again and the hat on in China then something needs to be said to him. As world champion he’s an ambassador for the sport and he shouldn’t act in that way.

Nikon D4s | Exposure time: 1/1000s Aperture F7.1 | ISO speed: 400.


I did the finish as usual, crossed over and climbed the podium tower for a bit of height. I’m never sure whether it’s the right side or the right angle, you just have to be lucky in those instances. On this occasion I was lucky as I was on the right and shooting as they shot champagne across me, if you like. There was quite a bit of emotion on that podium – or maybe it was aggression, I don’t know, it seemed a mixture of both! The champagne just seemed to carry on forever. This is just after Lewis went and sprayed the girl, which caused a bit of controversy, but he spent most of his time spraying Sebastian and Nico. The champagne shower at the end is spectacular and always makes a good shot.

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


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.

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


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


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 D4S | Exposure time: 10/10000 sec | Aperture: F/4 | ISO speed: ISO-800


It was pouring down at this moment and I didn’t have my rain cover with me, but I didn’t care and I was laughing to myself that I hadn’t taken any waterproofs. I was just concentrating on people coming out of the last corner and it paid off because Kimi lost it, did a tankslapper and then half spun and caught it. The crowd were going crazy because he managed to hold it and I just followed it all the way through. I knew someone was going to spin, I think Mehri spun as well, and you could see them struggling because they were the drivers on old intermediates that they had swapped to too early. It’s always nice to capture a bit of action and there was plenty going on when the rain hit all around the track, some of which the TV cameras didn’t catch.

Camera model: Nikon D4S | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F13 | ISO speed: 200


This was qualifying, in Q2. I had been editing up until the end of Q1 and then got out on track for the middle session. I saw Fernando Alonso crawling round the corner and knew he wouldn’t be able to get up the hill, so he’d have to get out of the car – and immediately there’s a picture. So he pulled up and the marshals took a while to get to him and he started pushing it. I managed to catch a shot of Vettel’s Ferrari passing Alonso pushing the car. I thought it was quite a nice picture because Alonso left McLaren for Ferrari and Vettel took his seat. This image shows the contrasting fortunes they’re having this year – even more so as Vettel went on to win the race.


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