• Life Through a Lens

The best of Brazil

Mark Sutton
November 27, 2013

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

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This is a typical Bernie Ecclestone pose. I think he was actually remonstrating to another guy about the weather because it was pretty poor all weekend. He was in reasonably good form though because his wife's from Brazil and it's almost like half a home race for him. He knows a lot of people and he was actually in our hotel when we arrived. We were talking about Austin and how awesome it was. He was actually quite surprised by how much the city has embraced the sport with parties and the fan fest - I think he is actually quite impressed with it. It's always interesting talking to him and then every morning we saw him sat there eating breakfast on his own reserved table.

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Romain Grosjean is a great character and has really come out of his shell since he's had a bit more success. I like this shot and as soon as I caught it I thought that it was quite funny. It looks like he knows what he's doing and apparently he's quite into his judo. He's always sat at the back of the garage, and even though you have to shoot through wires and mechanics, he always provides some interesting images. He's lightened up after the pressure of trying to perform for so long and I think the mechanics really like that because obviously Kimi is very straight with them. The mechanics work bloody hard and they need someone who they get on with and enjoy spending time with.

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This is taken at the pit exit and, even though I'm quite a long way back, I just sneaked out a little bit to take it from lower down. I actually laid the camera on the floor, pre-focussed on where I thought he was going to go and spun it round to get this different angle as he came out of the pits. It's a bit hit and miss to start with, but once you've got the speed of the car right with the rotation of the camera it works quite well and you can get the Sao Paulo sign in it. He cut the corner a little bit in this shot and you can see the water splash up from the tyre that adds a little bit of sparkle to it.

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I like this picture as Sebastian Vettel is holding up the nine fingers to represent his nine wins in a row. I love this blue background, which is actually the ground in parc ferme, and it almost looks like he's stood against a greenscreen and you could cut him out and stick him wherever you wanted. It's amazing that he managed to do nine races in a row, a fantastic achievement. If he wins in Australia he'll set a new record for consecutive victories, but after that he'll start to run out of fingers to celebrate with!

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I was lucky to get this as we were all lined up to take the podium shot just before it happened. I could see that Mark Webber had taken his helmet off on his inlap so I moved to get a shot of him coming down the pit lane, but the next minute Seb started doing celebratory doughnuts on the pit straight. I only had a 300mm lens at that time but I shot it anyway and they all came out pin sharp and I was able to crop them. Fortunately the tyre smoke was blowing in the right direction so you could actually see the car, because sometimes you just get a face full of smoke! You play on your luck and there was a guy next to me shooting on a 600mm, which was the perfect lens to have, but I was stuck with what I had for the podium.

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This was a great picture of Mark Webber at his final race and it immediately reminded me of the celebrations after his fifth place finish at his first race with Minardi back at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. He celebrated on the podium that day even though he didn't finish in the top three and seeing Mark up there in Interlagos brought back those memories. There was a little bit of tension still in parc ferme between Webber and Vettel - it was hardly a big hug between the two, more of a slap on the back - but after the podium I think Mark really enjoyed it and lightened up. When we saw him at the check-in at the airport he was already wearing a Porsche t-shirt so it was almost like he'd already moved on from F1.

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