• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

A shock weekend

Mark Sutton
May 16, 2012

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the Spanish Grand Prix

(Bottom image) Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Aperture 5.6 | Focal length: 27mm | Exposure 1/125 sec © Sutton Images

A party at Williams

This whole weekend seemed to revolve around Williams! It was Frank's 70th birthday party on Saturday night, and it couldn't really have been timed any better. We got in to Williams and the team was having its celebrations; people from up and down the paddock and all the drivers were there and it was quite an impressive turnout. It was a real shame that the microphone didn't work, but it didn't really matter because Damon Hill took over and started telling everyone what Frank and Bernie were saying! So Damon took charge, he was really loud and I'd never really heard him like that before. It was good and a lot of people turned up, and all the drivers went over and said congratulations to Frank, and Frank's probably the only true independent owner. I actually left to wire the pictures and as that happened they announced that Pastor had got pole position and Lewis had been disqualified. Fortunately Keith was still there to get those celebration shots.

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Aperture 6.3 | Focal length: 16mm | Exposure 1/300 sec © Sutton Images

Alonso's fans

All of these fans have actually turned up on the Thursday, so before there's any track action. This is a great shot of Fernando getting his photo with the fans - it was amazing. There's a huge amount of fans for Fernando, it's incredible support that he's still got. It wasn't a huge crowd that we got on race day but it was still a good crowd, and it's amazing to see them still supporting him so passionately. Nobody expected him to be too competitive but they're absolutely fanatical. He just signs all of the memorabilia that is put in front of him. It was crazy when he came out, and they've even made the barrier stronger here. He stayed for quite a long time and I think that he took about three or four pictures on his phone from different angles, he's really embracing it now that he's allowed on Twitter.

(Bottom right image) Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm zoom | Aperture 5.0 | Focal length: 145mm | Exposure 1/320 sec © Sutton Images

Dealing with fire

Williams had done the celebration picture and they all started mobbing Frank so I thought I'd head up to the media room to wire the pictures. As I was heading back I could hear this explosion and everybody looked up at the smoke so I ran back through it all to see people pulling all the fire extinguishers down the pit lane. It was absolute bloody chaos, but what was amazing about the fire was the camaraderie and all the support that the teams gave. Everyone brought fire extinguishers, they knew it was a fire and they knew it could affect other garages if they just left it, so they all showed their support. It was great. It was a bit like a warzone trying to shoot it all - I felt like a war photographer - I didn't want to get in people's way but my news head kicked in and I felt like I needed to get it for news. I didn't do too badly, it was incredible seeing some senior team members mucking in and quite a few were covered in extinguisher dust by the time they stepped away.

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm zoom | Aperture 4.5 | Focal length: 200mm | Exposure 1/160 sec © Sutton Images

Raikkonen post-race

Back to capturing matters surrounding the race and you can really see the sweat pouring off Kimi here, it's a really moody press conference shot. You can see beads of sweat dripping down off his chin and his face, and he's thinking "I should have won this race" basically. On Friday it looked like it was theirs to win, but strategy is so crucial nowadays and they didn't quite manage it. He must have been thinking "That could have been my win if we got it right". He's not the most outgoing person in the paddock but this betrays his emotions at the time, with a lovely black background and the sweat dripping down. He looks like the opposite of the Iceman here but I don't think the win is far away. I reckon in Monaco he could be the man if he qualifies well.

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Aperture 3.5 | Focal length: 16mm | Exposure 1/500 sec © Sutton Images

Button's bike

This was a shot of Jenson leaving the circuit. Basically he's got his motorhome near the track; he's got a motorhome like lots of the drivers used to have and he just takes his motorbike to and from the track, so it's literally just a one mile bike ride out of the circuit straight to the motorhome. I noticed him leaving and I thought I'd see what he's up to, I thought he might just be going on a little moped because I saw some McLaren mopeds there but he got on this Ducati. It's got an English numberplate so I think he takes that to every European race. It was quite a nice picture as the fans were mobbing him as usual but his manager was trying to keep them away; I think that all they want to do is go back and rest at the end of the day. It's good to see him wearing a helmet, he's not got any leathers on but it's only about a mile to the motorhome, and he probably wanted to get back quickly as he'd had a bad day in qualifying.

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 500mm telephoto | Aperture 5.6 | Focal length: 500mm | Exposure 1/500 sec © Sutton Images

Maldonado the King

This podium shot shows the camaraderie between the drivers. You can also see Fernando looking up at him and I think that was a great moment. They very rarely do something like this to be honest, but because it was his first win they decided to make it a little bit special for him and I think it created a great shot. Kimi can be quite quiet but it was good to see him getting involved - obviously both he and Fernando are past world champions and it was Maldonado's first victory so they both appreciated that it takes a lot to get your first win. He's in a midfield team at the end of the day, it's not a team that expected to be winning but Williams has been there pretty much every race all year but they've not had the luck. It all came together for him on Sunday though and it is summed up in this great shot.

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