Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens: Russian Grand Prix

Mark Sutton – Life Through a Lens: Russian Grand Prix

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

Fancy A Drive, Max?

Camera model: NIKON D5 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture : F18 | ISO speed: 1000 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom

This is one of those photos that suddenly had more meaning the following week. I had just come to the paddock after the autograph signing. Max Verstappen went over to Red Bull and started talking to Helmut Marko with his manager and dad, Jos, and there’s me thinking they were just talking about 2017! I got a few shots of them talking because I was aware of the link with next year, but thought nothing of it. When I saw the news last week of Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat I suddenly remembered this set of photographs and realised it was very newsworthy. This was obviously before Kvyat’s crash on Sunday and the revelation the following week but who knows, maybe the driver switch had already been mentioned at this point?

The Powers That Be

Camera model: NIKON D5 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom

This is Bernie Ecclestone on the grid with Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak. Just after the national anthem I followed them, they were trying to get rid of me but Bernie said it was OK. The deputy prime minister had his son with him and they asked Christian Horner to show him the car. While that was happening, Bernie is chatting to him on the grid explaining to him what’s happening and I don’t think anyone else got these shots. It’s just one of those moments you just have to capture. Vladimir Putin arrived later and we got the usual shot of his chat with Bernie in the grandstand opposite the media centre but I liked this one better as its up close to the pair having a talk.

Seventh Heaven

Camera model: NIKON D5 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 1600 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto

This was a wonderful shot in parc ferme. We didn’t get many shots of Rosberg during the race – away from the ordinary ones of the start, pit stops, finish shots –because he was so lonely out in front. When he pulled up the car he went looking for his mechanics and jumped in there, just like a rock star doing a crowd surf during a gig. From this elevated angle it made a really nice shot. It’s a happy moment — you want to see the drivers happy and celebrating these wins and this picture shows plenty of emotion at his seventh win in a row.

Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better

Camera model: NIKON D5 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto

I lucked in a bit with this one; a lot of things came down the inside of the circuit after the carnage at the first few corners. Sebastian Vettel came back after his shunt with Daniil Kvyat and I don’t think a lot of people would have got this because he crashed so far through Turn 3. This is what I call ‘a man moment’ — Vettel doesn’t want to be on the back, he just wants to drive the motorbike. The drivers do like to drive cars, they hate other people driving them around. I guess they like to stay in control. Just after this is taken, the marshal starts waving Vettel’s helmet in the air so he was clearly having a lot of fun himself.

The Aeroscreen

Camera model: NIKON D4S | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens 70-200mm Zoom

This was the big story on Thursday and Friday in Russia, with Red Bull doing the seat fitting and then running the Aeroscreen the following morning. They tried to hide it at first because I think they were worried about showing people how the canopy is actually attached to the car, they had it behind all the mechanics. When they rolled it out on Friday morning we got a lot of close up shots but there was a ridiculous amount of photographers, it must have been about ten deep. We got a great collection of shots from his lap, like we did with the Ferrari Halo tests earlier in the year. I think with this Red Bull design they have a real chance to do something very interesting for broadcasting purposes, whether it’s LED lights on the front with driver numbers or name, something like they do in IndyCar.

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