• Life Through a Lens

Over and out

Mark Sutton
July 23, 2014

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

Taking stock

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 4000 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom © Sutton Images

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 12800 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images

The first one of Lewis is from Saturday morning. Working on your own can be tough, trying to get through 11 teams, but sometimes it works really well. As I've said before it's all about creating a set of pictures to tell a story and him sitting in the garage is great for this. In this particular moment I was lucky as he sat here for quite a while without any mechanics around him, so to get a picture that clean is very rare. It creates a good picture, to be honest. The picture of him and Toto is nice as well, though there is actually a mechanics arm in the corner but I was governed by the smaller lens from the earlier shot. Both of them are really nice for pre-session shots.

Catch me if you can

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images

This is a classic, isn't it. This is obviously the initial dash onto the track and there was a few people racing to get this sign. I was just taking general shots of the run on to the track and then this happened, it adds something to a shot which would have already been quite nice. I don't know what he did with this, he can't exactly put it in his pocket, I'm sure he would have had it taken off him. It's too obvious! This has Santander on the back of it so I don't know whether they would just replace it or not. The running onto the track was reminiscent of the Schumacher days, albeit probably a bit less intense. There's a really nice mix of people; Germans, Brits, Finns, Swedes, coming onto the track, so it makes for a really good shot.

Barrel roll

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images

There's a funny story to this one - or rather a sad story, from my point of view. I missed most of it and even in this shot there is someone's head in the corner. The facilities at Hockenheim are reasonably good and I can understand that they seal all the fences for safety reasons, but it is frustrating to get to the first corner with stickers for agencies to stake out their place before we arrive. Safety is important but we also have to work, at the end of the day, so it's tough. You're never going to get more than ten people through that gap and I thought if anything does happened at the start, I'm stuffed. And then that happened! I just heard the crash, bang, wallop, turned left and this is what I got. Some people on the front row did get it but people on the second row where I was, didn't get it all. It's down to the facility rather than my personal skill, there's not enough room and you're shooting above people's heads which is annoying. In the end when you put all the ones together we got it made a nice sequence but from my point of view I felt we were let down a bit from a working point of view.

Soaking it up

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 70-200mm with 1.4x Converter © Sutton Images

I prefer this version of the drivers parade to them all standing on the truck. The drivers hate it, to tell you the truth, because they're on their own and can only speak to the driver - but they can barely hear him. That means they have to wave for the whole lap and it's probably quite boring for them. But it's great, they go round in these classic cars and it's what they should be doing, not talking to each other on the track. This is a nice shot because it's atmospheric; you can see the classic cars, the crowd, the drivers. That part of the stadium was quite busy. It's a classic old German stadium and it works really well - if you look closely you can see them doing a Mexican wave. It's empty down the front but the view at the back is better.

'Come on Sutton, work it!'

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom © Sutton Images

These are some of Nico's friends I've become acquainted to over the last few years. One of them is an artist and the other two are just close friends of Nico. We did a shot from the TV compound and I was just going to do the team shot, saw these guys and though I'd get a shot in the bag. I was trying to get Nico to put his thumbs up. Nico was getting really into it, he's actually saying "Come on Sutton, work it! Work it!" We did it once without the trophy, and then he grabbed the trophy and we did it again. Nico was loving it and so were his friends. It's nice to get some appreciation from the drivers. Nico is always really good with us in a way we don't always get from Lewis, for example. I know Nico from his Formula 3 and Formula BMW days, we've grown up with a lot of the drivers I suppose. At least he knows my name! He probably doesn't know my first name but it's nice that he knows my surname, it is nice for us photographers to get some recognition like that.

Jumping dismount

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images

This is a good shot from Friday practice. Kamui Kobayashi came past me with a load of smoke coming out of his car so I was doing a pan shot with the empty grandstands, as they are nicely coloured. So during practice they make for a nice picture with no-one there. When I saw the fire in the back of it I changed to a bigger lens, the 500, but he'd already stopped by then. The extinguishers came out and then he jumped out in the air, I couldn't believe how high he jumped! It's obviously to do with the KERS but it looks like he's jumping about six foot in the air. I don't know why he was jumping so high but it made for a great image, again. Then the fire wouldn't go out, when they put it on the crane it was still smoking so Kobayashi got the extinguisher himself and started trying to put things out. Again, this one if being in the right place at the right time. If I had been here for qualifying I would have got Lewis' crash but I was elsewhere on track, which is sod's law!

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