Life Through a Lens: Spanish Grand Prix

Life Through a Lens: Spanish Grand Prix

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

Casualties of War

Camera model: NIKON D4S | Exposure time: 1/320 s | Aperture: F11 | ISO speed : 200 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom

We didn’t catch the Mercedes collision — Turn 4 is not a usual place for a photographer to stand on the first lap as it’s usually unlikely anything will happen there. The one agency that caught it was doing some work for a sponsor, much like how I got lucky and captured Sebastian Vettel’s engine blowup in Bahrain while doing stuff for DHL — sometimes that’s how it goes. While the race was going I had BBC radio coverage on in my ear and they remarked how sad it was to see the cars sat under covers in parc ferme and so I shot over there as quick as I could.

I think this is a nice image as it’s something different and looks fairly dramatic. I had to get this signed off by the FIA before sending it out because I wasn’t sure if it was actually in parc ferme and an area I’m not allowed to shoot in — I don’t know how it works because I was told it doesn’t become parc ferme until the race finished. Either way, it was a nice shot to get as it was very different to what anyone else got — it has a doomsday feel to it.

Master and Apprentice

Camera model: Nikon D4S | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed : 400 | Lens: 70-200 Zoom

This was a good shot as it was Dr Helmut Marko who played a big role in Verstappen’s early elevation to Red Bull ahead of the race. I don’t think even Marko would have imagined how it panned out in real life, but this photograph was a bit like master and apprentice celebrating a job well done. Just after this Daniel Ricciardo came over and congratulated Max which was great to see — he was disappointed in how his own race turned out but seemed genuinely pleased for Verstappen. Shooting the first Verstappen-Red Bull celebration felt like the first of many, somehow… I think it’s a sight we’re going to get very used to in the next few years.

Do It Yourself

Camera model: Nikon D5 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed : 200 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto

This was early in the race and a good example of how it sometimes pays to be in the right place at the right time. I had see the car smoking on the screen in front of me and before I knew it he came round the corner and to a stop just in front of me. After climbing out, Hulkenberg pointed the marshal to go round the back but he went around slowly and didn’t know how to open it. I think Hulkenberg got a bit impatient, grabbed the fire extinguisher off the marshal and initially doused the marshal with it before doing the back of the car. I think the marshals are scared of doing more damage to the car in those moments.

History Maker

Camera model: Nikon D5 | Exposure time: 1/1640s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed : 800 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom With 1.4 Extender

Seeing Verstappen spray the champagne was amusing when you kept being reminded how young he was — I don’t think he would have needed many drinks to celebrate his win! It’s funny to think he’s still not legal to drink in some of the places on the calendar. But what a remarkable debut. To adapt that quickly to a new car and keep calm under that pressure from Kimi Raikkonen was really fantastic. The race fell into his lap a little bit but the driver still has to deliver and he absolutely did that. It felt like a landmark moment in what should be a very good career.

The Man of the Hour

Camera model: Nikon D5 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed : 400 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom

There was heightened attention around Verstappen all week and on the grid was no different. There has been a noticeable increase in Dutch journalists since he made his debut and I only imagine that number will continue to rise in the coming weeks and months now that he’s claimed his first victory. On the grid there was one man all the photographers seemed to be interested in, obviously none of us knew the kind of race that was about to unfold in front of us.

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