• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

Australian atmosphere

Mark Sutton
March 21, 2012

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix

Alonso's portrait

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 11.0 | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Exposure: 1/250 sec © Sutton Images
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My first frame is Fernando Alonso at the driver portrait session, which has now become an FIA thing. Sutton Images have got a backdrop out in Australia that they've kept there for about five years, so they set the backdrop up on Thursday, set all the chairs and benches up, so you're looking at having between 50 and 60 photographers shooting these portraits. You've also got people shooting from the side trying to create these side photos, and what I've done is I've taken a picture over the top of these people who are doing the side photos. It just gives you more of an atmosphere; Alonso is just leaving and you can see how the organisers really look after the backdrops with the Melbourne signs on the fence. It really adds to the pictures

Nosey Red Bull

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 4.0 | Lens: 16-35mm zoom | Exposure: 1/250 sec © Sutton Images
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In Australia we get a chance to look at all of the cars in more detail, and it's interesting to see all the drivers and mainly the engineers and designers going round and looking at all the cars. This one's great because it shows Rob Marshall - the Red Bull chief designer - and it just proves that even the top teams aren't confident and want to know what the other teams are up to, what their designs look like, what concepts they have and which direction they're going in. Obviously Mercedes was a good car to be looking at because this weekend we found out about the 'F-duct' shown in the second picture, and it caused quite a stir in terms of the concept and whether it's actually legal.

Button celebrates

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 3.5 | Exposure: 1/640 sec © Sutton Images
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The light was just incredible when Jenson got out the car. He came over towards me and I was quite low down actually so there's a bit of sky behind it and you can see his gloves. The problem for people who were higher up was that the black background made it hard to distinguish the gloves, which are making a W. He was obviously ecstatic and the best thing about it was that I won so money on him so it was even better! I was doing an autograph signing session with him at the last test in Barcelona and the last thing he said to me was "see you in Parc Ferme" so I took his word for it and put bets on for pole, victory and to win the championship. I was quite happy with that!

Famous faces

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 6.3 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom | Exposure: 1/300 sec © Sutton Images
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This is Aaron Eckhart, Kate Peck and Lenny Kravitz just before they did the national anthem on the grid. So they're all set up, and Aaron Eckhart looks like he's come off a safari! What was more bizarre was that Lenny Kravitz was in his usual smart clothing but with a scarf on in 25 or 26 degree heat! It was good to have some celebrities - there tends to always be somebody in Australia over there for the event.

Schumacher's retirement

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 7.1 | Lens: 500mm telephoto | Exposure: 1/640 sec © Sutton Images
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This was at the first corner when Michael went off as he was lying in third place. If you lose it you go on to that dirt, but it's really soft as we had a massive, torrential downpour on Friday. As you come off the Astroturf on to the grass you've got this kind of bump where the car goes down and I think that will have damaged his car too. A lot of people went off at that corner - Vettel did too as did Vergne - but this was significant because it looked like Schumacher might make it on to the podium. The car is quick, so we'll see in Malaysia. If it's got good speed it'll be quick there because it's got a lot longer straights than Australia.

First corner clash

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Aperture: 8.0 | Lens: 70-200mm | Exposure: 1/640 sec © Sutton Images
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Here we are; start of the season and the first crash! There's always a crash at that corner, it's a long straight in to a tight 90 degree right hander. It's quite similar to Barcelona actually; it's very similar to the shot we do shooting down to turns one and two. It's obviously great that we get incidents but not so good for Bruno on this occasion as it damaged his car at both ends. His team-mate Maldonado had a better time of it, he should have finished the race though. He was one of the stars of the weekend but he stupidly put it in the wall on the last lap. He was trying to pressure Alonso in to a mistake but with Alonso's experience that was never likely to happen.

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