• Life Through a Lens

Taking flight

Mark Sutton
July 11, 2014

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his favourite shots from the British Grand Prix and the subsequent Silverstone test.

Déjà vu

© Sutton Images
Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images

I was standing at Club Corner and there's a screen there where you can see what is going on. You can see them coming into Stowe and if they don't overtake there, they might try again coming through Vale and then past me. I'm always wary of what's going on, I was shooting with the long lens when I saw Gutierrez coming down the inside and thought nothing of it until they collided. The front wing end plate comes off Gutierrez's car but they just sort of carried on into the corner, and obviously he and Maldonado touch wheels. It's funny as it's the reverse of what happened in Bahrain and I wasn't focused on that crash shot. In those moments you just keep your finger on the button in the hope something might happen and luckily in this case it did. To be honest you can do a whole race at Club Corner and nothing happens at all! There was the added bonus that I was using a new transmitter where we can send the pictures straight from the camera, meaning the picture was available to use during the race.

War wounds

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000 s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images

I don't think any photographer got a picture of Kimi Raikkonen's crash itself, it's a weird place for a crash to happen. It was quite a scary one when you see debris flying around like that, you just hope the wheels stay on the cars in most cases when you remember the case of Henry Surtees a few years back. In this case Kimi just seemed unlucky, as he hit that water gully at a bad angle and lost it. That all went on and it's amazing Felipe Massa was able to come back after impact with him. We got it from every angle, from three of our guys. I was looking to see if there's any sparks because when the rubber starts to wear on the alloy you get the sparks coming out, so that's why I'm focused on the tyre at that moment. Without pictures of Kimi's crash this was all we had to tell the story of what happened.

Contrasting fortunes

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images

This was after Lewis Hamilton's stoppage in FP2. The reason this is here is to tell the story of the weekend. You felt like Lewis was on a downer after this issue in practice, he was under pressure going into qualifying and decided to abort that lap at the end. It was all going against him again but that's racing. In the race I only got one picture of them together so this was a nice one to pull off. With this one Lewis had pulled up to one side and I thought I could get a shot of the two of them like this one, it's nice to show these incidents. In this case I knew that Lewis had stopped, walked over the bridge at Becketts looking for his car and found it at The Loop. I saw Nico coming past and thought it creates the story of the session and that's what we're looking for as photographers. As it turned out this was the opposite of how the weekend ended up, which is another funny twist to the season.

A Royal welcome

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F16 | ISO speed: 400 © Sutton Images

This is Prince Harry having a chat with Christian Horner, Sir Jackie Stewart and his son Mark Stewart. It was great to see him there, I heard from various sources he would be there that morning. I spoke to the girl who does the TV and she said he would be over at the old grid, we got some nice stuff over there which we could send out very quickly. It's nice because he's got an interest and he's been big friends with Sir Jackie and his family for a long time, he keeps the royals informed of what is going on in the sport. This is after he's been brought onto the grid, he didn't actually do any interviews but he looked like he was having a good time.

A glimpse of the future?

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F2.8 | ISO speed: 450 © Sutton Images

These new Pirelli tyres they were testing at Silverstone are all a bit bling. It seems to me like it's copying other series like A1GP and Formula E. I know it's to give cars more grip and stability around the corners. I admit it looks great but that's only in static pictures! I don't know what they will be like to drive or the impact it will really have on cost-cutting. This was what all the attention was on at the Silverstone test and it was interesting to have a glimpse of something we may well have in F1 in a few years time.

The local support

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F6.3 ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images
Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F6.3 ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images

This was from the same position as the Maldonado/Gutierrez crash. The top picture is quite an interesting one as it's when Nico stopped and Lewis led the race. I thought I didn't need a shot of Lewis going around the corner, there's no point, so I turned around to shoot the crowd. The two people with the Union Jack saw me and started waving, but the picture is made when all the crowd erupted and stood up. This moment is when Lewis took the lead and came past the crowd at Club, it was quite a magical moment as you can hear the fans much clearer now. The second one is at parc ferme, where I probably shouldn't have been but I wasn't doing anything naughty. I saw some fans had jumped the fence, it's my passion to get pictures of fans and the crowd and their emotion. In this case I decided the crowd were so passionate that it was worth a picture. The crowd were shouting "Lewis! Lewis!" and it created some great pictures.

Jumping for joy

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 200 | © Sutton Images
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This is quite a good shot of Valtteri Bottas as it's a bit of a cheat. I've had to crop it because when you're doing a rear parc ferme shot like that you're in the middle of where people are going to stand, so people cross in front of you. It's frustrating and there's lots of swearing under the breath! In this case the FIA guy put his finger out to point to another car coming into parc ferme and stood right in that shot. He blocked the right-hand frame out but it's still a lovely picture so I'll have to crop it and make it into a portrait shape.

Actually the day after this was bizarre because we were in the office and out of the window we saw Valtteri getting out of his car. He was having lunch over the road so we invited him in to look round the office - sometimes the drivers are a bit in their own bubble and probably don't know what our history is. Sebastian Vettel knows because we supported him in his early days, the same with Lewis, but some have no idea what we do. It was nice for Valtteri to come, on top of that he's a great little guy. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes on the drivers when the PR people aren't there.