• Keith Sutton's Life Through a Lens

Webber mania and nightshifts in Korea

Keith Sutton
October 9, 2013

F1 photographer Keith Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the Korean Grand Prix

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images

One of the main topics at every Korean Grand Prix has been the lack of people attending the weekend. But on race day they all seem to turn up and they all seem to go in the main grandstand. I took this same shot in the first year but it was absolutely torrential and you couldn't see the sea and the mountains in the distance. What I like about this shot is that it's got everything in there, with the crowd in the foreground, the start, the pit complex and the bridge. You can do a lot of photos from up on that grandstand.

Camera mode: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F13 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images

The spectators that turn up are definitely keen because you see these banners that they make each year. This time round the Mark Webber fans made a massive effort and you can see all the different slogans relating to his retirement and move to Le Mans. Like a lot of people in F1 I will be sad to see Webber go. We knew him when he first came to England in the Formula Ford days, and like a lot of drivers he used to come round to the office to grab some pictures. In fact, he came to our karting event when he was in F3000 and won it! The nice thing about him is that he's still down to earth and hasn't really changed after all these years.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2500 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images

Another example of the fans dedication in Korea is this picture of Sebastian Vettel with a present in the Red Bull garage. It was taken on Saturday morning and I think one of his team members must have put the gift there that a fan had made for him. Someone's obviously gone to a big effort, although I'm not sure what the red dot and flowers are all about, and it made him smile ahead of FP3. No one else got this shot and I only managed it because I was focusing on the plate as he went over and picked it up. He then put it away so it was really a very quick thing.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/2000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 14-24mm Zoom © Sutton Images

When I'm shooting at these new race tracks, I always think it's important to get some idea of where you are in the photo. You know a photo from Abu Dhabi and one from Singapore, but places like China, Bahrain and Korea, there tends to be one particular thing that makes it stand out. In Bahrain it's the tower, in China it's the main grandstand and in Korea it's this bridge. It shows you're in Korea and I took this during the beautiful weather on Friday morning to get an image straight away that summed up the circuit.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/60s | Aperture: F3.2 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images

When we got to Korea and Japan it gets dark early compared to Europe, so as I wandered into the pit lane on Friday night I took some pictures of the McLaren guys at work. It's a slightly different photo that you don't see from every circuit where it stays lighter for longer. What I didn't realise, though, is that the mechanics curfew is at 2am. So taking to the Red Bull guys, they were saying that they work until 1:55am to make sure they use all the possible time ahead of the curfew.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 800 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images

Another person who works long hours is Sebastian Vettel. Our shuttle bus went past his hotel in the morning and he was leaving for the track at 8am. So he's the first of the drivers through the paddock gates in the morning and that actually meant that not many people get a photo of him entering the paddock first thing. This photo shows the rewards he reaps from his hard work as he celebrates with Christian Horner and Jonathan Wheatley. Most people took this shot from the front, but I went to the side to get a different angle and you also get a nice effect from the flashes going off at the front.

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