• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

Yas wonderland

Mark Sutton
November 19, 2011

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

Middle Eastern Monaco

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The roof of the Yas Hotel makes for great photos and is continually changing colour. I was actually lucky enough to stay in that hotel for the Young Driver Test because they reduced the prices. It's 5/6* so it's very nice and staying there gave me the chance to get a closer look at the roof. Those patterns are created by a light shining on a glass panel, so it's not the panels that light up themselves - more of a projection. After the race they put the chequered flag on it and later on they projected the UAE flag up there, which was a nice touch. You can also see the boats in the harbour, although it didn't take long for those to clear out after the race!

Button's Movember moustache

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I didn't really notice Jenson Button's new moustache to start with, because it's quite fair and a similar colour to his skin. I was trying to get some shots in the pits but you couldn't really see it! So it was great when he actually pointed to it after qualifying and then Sebastian Vettel joined in. It's good to see because it's part of Movember, which I'm also taking part in, and it's all raising money for charity. It's going to be funny to see how much bushier it is in Brazil and if it's got any darker. It's nice to see a bit of humour among the drivers and Button and Vettel are always sharing jokes in press conferences, so it was no surprise to see them getting on well.

Rosberg and Mercedes

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Obviously Nico signed a new deal with Mercedes ahead of the race, but I stumbled upon this photo opportunity by mistake. I just happened to be around the back of the paddock and I saw a TV crew with him and he'd made this Mercedes star with some sand. It was a good opportunity to get some photos and he was quite open to me taking shots while they were filming. In fact, he asked if he could have a look at my photos because he didn't want to look an idiot! But I think he liked what he saw and we carried on with a few more shots. It's always good to take the opportunity to build up a bit of a rapport with the drivers and to show them what I do. It's important, too, because these are the guys we have to work with and you get much better photos if they appreciate what we do.

Action for road safety

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This photo was taken with all the media staff from the circuit who were supporting an FIA road safety campaign. Once again you can see the Yas Hotel in the background and this was actually taken just outside our photographers' room in the paddock. They were trying to get some publicity for the campaign because there have been a lot of problems out in the UAE with people speeding, drink driving and a lot of crashes. From my experience people tend to drive very fast and do not take into account the braking distances. But it's all about creating awareness and the FIA is involved in similar projects all over the world - NCAP ratings were set up by the FIA and have had a big difference. Formula One can promote these initiatives and the drivers are always behind them so it's just about getting the message out there.

Back on top

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Lewis Hamilton's pose reminds me of the Cristo Redentor statue in Rio de Janeiro. It's almost like he was saying 'what do you think?' I took this from the Paddock Club and it's got a nice clean background with the blue painted tarmac in parc ferme. It shows the celebration, it shows emotion and it was just before he jumped over the barrier and ran to celebrate with his mum, who he dedicated the win to. It was so nice to see the support from his family at the circuit and it was clear that it meant a lot to him.

Mother's boy

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This leads on from the last shot but was taken after the podium celebration and press conference. Originally this shot was just going to be of the team doing the usual three cheers, but then Lewis' mum turned up and we had to do it all over again. Everyone sat down in their places once more and we did the same celebration shot five times in the end - so if you didn't get a picture from that, you had no-one to blame but yourself. Normally I don't think they'd bother if someone was missing from the photo, but because it was his mum everybody was very happy to go through it all again.

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