Life Through a Lens: Belgium and Italy

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his six favourite shots from Spa and Monza.

Catch Me If You Can

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/320th of a second | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO: 200

This was an amusing moment at the end of the race. This guy was a fire marshal at the far end of the straight, and when the race ended and the fans poured on to the track for the podium ceremony he was in no mood to hang around. For some reason he had this scooter with him and he just bolted. It’s something different but also nice because you can see the fans sprinting down to get the best view of the podium, one of the things that makes races like Spa — in traditional F1 heartland — so special compared to some of the newer additions to the calendar.

The Best Corner In F1?

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/250th of a second with flash | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO: 1600

I went out to Eau Rouge on Friday afternoon and it is still truly breathtaking, regardless of what people say about the new cars. It’s still an amazing corner to go to, you don’t get a real sense of the speed until you are sat right there watching them fly past you. The great bit about standing here, on the inside of the bottom of the hill, is you can see the line they take through the rest of the corner. If you look closely you can see it on the road further up. I chose this shot because the car is blurry, adding to the sense of how fast they are going at this point.

The Line Of Duty

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/250th of a second | Aperture: F4 | ISO: 1600

There was a lot more security for the race at Spa — it was very obvious when you were there, with armed police all over the place. That sort of thing has the potential to unnerve some people. While he was signing autographs, Lewis Hamilton went over to one of them and signed his overalls on the arm. It was a nice moment — it took away some of the tension of them being there, and the soldier really seemed to appreciate it. Any moment you can capture a driver being normal, doing something you don’t tend to see on the cameras, is a great shot because it makes them seem more human rather than just these stars driving fast cars.

Farewell, Felipe

Camera: NikonD5 | Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 | Shutter Speed: 1/640th of a second | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO: 200

Everyone agrees Felipe Massa is one of the nice guys of the paddock and this was a lovely send-off for him at Monza. I’ve never seen a spontaneous ovation for a driver at a press conference but that’s what he got after his initial statement. He was clearly emotional about it and had his whole family at the front row.

There were a few jokes about his son, Felipinho, being in Formula One one day, but Massa’s wife didn’t look too happy with the suggestion! I suppose Massa now has an enviable situation in that he can do whatever he wants, stock cars in Brazil, Formula E, maybe even go into management. I think he’ll be missed by F1, a rare character and people forget how close he came to being a world champion.

Changing Fortunes

Camera: Nikon D5 | Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 | Shutter Speed:1/125th of a second | Aperture: F16 | ISO: 200

I was going to pick a podium shot for Nico Rosberg but this picture stood out as telling a nicer story from the Italian Grand Prix. This is just after qualifying, and Hamilton had just taken pole by half a second. Rosberg was clearly miffed how his teammate could be so much faster and after qualifying he sat looking at the timing screens, wondering where on earth Hamilton had found the time.

On Sunday he got the start right, Hamilton got it wrong, and that turned the momentum back in his favour but Rosberg must wonder what he has to do to beat Lewis on days like Saturday. It’s also a nice shot because 24 hours later he was on the podium celebrating a win, something he probably didn’t imagine when he was sat there.

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