• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

Chaos in Canada

Mark Sutton
June 17, 2011

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

Button and d'Ambrosio

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F9.0 | Exposure: 1/640 Sec | Aperture: 8.0 © Sutton Images
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This was the start of Button's charge. I thought it was great because you can see the amount of water on the inside of the first corner, and d'Ambrosio's trying to hold position for what I think was last place. It's the key part of the race for me because Button's got to battle past all of those back markers and it's the bit you don't see on TV. D'Ambrosio was defending his position so he went in very tight and hit this puddle of water, which created a massive splash and a great shot. With Button going round the outside too it just shows him feeling for grip and trying to find the quickest way of making his way through the field. He's battling with a Virgin and putting pressure on him, and then later we obviously all saw the result when he did the same to Vettel - he cracked under pressure and showed he's human! But that seemed a long way off at this point and it's the moment Button begins to make his move.

Vettel in the wall

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F20.0 | Exposure: 1/640 Sec | Aperture: 16 © Sutton Images
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I'd literally wandered out of the pit lane; I'd got a bit bored because Montreal doesn't have a lot of grip, so once the cars leave the pit lane in practice they tend to do loads of laps. So I thought I'd head out to the last corner, because with the Quebec sign and the casino in the background for me that's a typical image of Montreal. After a while I'd decided to do the rear shot going down the pit lane, but then on my FanVision it said Vettel was in the wall, so I looked up and there he was behind me! So I'd missed it...but I got up and shot him in the wall with no marshalls around him, getting out of the car and looking at the damage. Then Rubio who works with us came over and said "I've got the crash". He'd got the full sequence - not as spectacular as some crashes but it's the fact that he went in there and we've got a shot of every driver who's been in there. It's all about having numbers at the track, and this picture went straight up and straight around the world.

Colin Farrell

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark III | Lens: 16-35mm F6.3 | Exposure: 1/80 Sec | Aperture: 5.6 © Sutton Images
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You may have seen me on TV - it was quite a funny moment. I already had the nod from someone that Colin Farrell was there, so I'd done some shots in the pit lane and he was basically just watching the car doing pit stop practice but then he disappeared out the back so I thought I'd catch him later. I was on the grid and I saw him, and by now he had a Renault jacket on so I thought he was bound to do a setup picture at some point. He spoke to Eric Boullier and Gerard Lopez but I hadn't got the shot of him looking at the camera and he was about to disappear so I said to him "Colin, any chance we could do a photo?" He said "Ah, I've got to go now", but he put his hand out towards me to shake my hand for some reason, so I thought maybe I should drag him in to position! I asked him again, I was quite aggressive - I felt I had to be because sometimes celebrities just don't want to comply, but he was there as a guest at the end of the day so I had to ask him a third time and he said "OK, alright, if you insist" and wandered over, posed in front of the car for about five seconds, gave me a smile and a grimace and then was off! I had no idea they were filming it until I tried to leave the grid and was getting messages. I wasn't playing to the camera I was just trying to get my picture at the end of the day.

McLaren's collide

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F5.0 | Exposure: 1/1000 Sec | Aperture: 4.0 | ISO Speed: 400 © Sutton Images
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Keith Sutton: I was very fortunate to be able to shoot the start of the race and the pit stops from the roof, and I could see the last corner so I could notice if anyone was close behind exiting the chicane. The only problem with this location was that it has the pit gantry roofs in the way, so half the time you just fire away and see what you get. I saw Hamilton was very close and he went for it on the inside, but Button kept his line and came across on him. I think I got three frames of contact, and then a final one where they've just collided and are right underneath their respective pit boards. On the Monday morning I saw Button at the airport and congratulated him and he said "You must have got some good pictures, did you get that shot of me and Lewis?" I said I did and I think I was the only one to get it, because I think they were too far away at the first corner.

Kobayashi drinking tequila

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/2000 Sec | Aperture: 2.8 © Sutton Images
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I think he does this every race! Obviously Kamui was second at one point and looked like getting a podium, although he slipped back he was up there and battling like he always does. After the race the team was really happy with what they'd seen in the race and the fact that he was pushing, and Peter Sauber was really happy. Kobayashi turned up and all the Mexican guests were still there, and they've sort of made it a tradition to have a tray of tequila ready with shots for when he comes back. So it was just a cheers with tequila and down with the shot! I just thought it was a great little moment to capture to see a racing driver having a tequila - it was a little bit bizarre. But he'd done his race, he wasn't racing any more that evening and wasn't driving I'm sure, and it was just a great moment because he's got a great smile on his face and he loves a tequila shot like everyone! Capturing these pictures is part of the job, it's not all about the obvious - the action on the circuit - it's about the lifestyle, the atmosphere, it's all a part of Formula One.

The winning kiss

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark III | Lens: 16-35mm F6.3 | Exposure: 1/80 Sec | Aperture: 5.6 © Sutton Images
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Jessica and Jenson always create great pictures. There's a lot of love there between the two of them, they always came in in the mornings over the pontoon to the track holding hands, laughing and joking with arms round each other, and they're like that all through the paddock. Obviously after the race when Jenson won he went over to hug and kiss her but he still had his helmet on, so it didn't really work as a picture. I was back at McLaren after the podium because they always do a team photo - it's a real team effort - and he came back and the next minute there's a massive thunderstorm, so I was back at McLaren with Jessica. I know her quite well and we have a bit of a rapport, and then Jenson came back when the rain stopped, and I moved this desk out the way just in time for him to run towards her and plant this kiss. It was the first reaction between the two of them, and it's a great shot. It's nice to see a bit of love in the paddock between people, it can be very tense but after winning on the last lap it was such a great atmosphere down there. What's so good about this shot is it's natural, it's not set up, that's an emotional reaction there and that's the best part of it.

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