• Life Through a Lens

Flipping brilliant

Mark Sutton
June 14, 2012

F1 photographers Keith and Mark Sutton pick their favourite shots from the Canadian Grand Prix

Flipping brilliant

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Keith Sutton: At the time this was shot most photographers were in the wire room uploading pictures, but it was such a lovely evening that I decided to take a walk over to McLaren's hospitality. All of Lewis's entourage were milling around, including his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and manager Simon Fuller, and I was just grabbing shots of that because the light was so nice. Then I saw Lewis head out of the paddock so I thought I'd follow him because it's always nice getting photos of the drivers crossing the pontoon when the light is low. So while he was signing autographs I went ahead and strolled to the end of the pontoon to get a picture of him with my 70-200mm lens. Then as he came towards me he pushed his trainer, Antti Vierula, into the Olympic rowing basin! But what I wasn't expecting was what happened next as Lewis put his back to the water and did this incredible backflip! I just kept my finger down and the autofocus did its work to capture this incredible sequence of him jumping in. My thoughts were, with Hamilton being a McLaren driver, he doesn't get a chance to do what the Red Bull drivers do in the swimming pool when they win in Monaco. So I said that to him as I thanked him for the photos. It was a great end to a great weekend.

Prediction perfect

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Keith Sutton: Ahead of every grand prix people always ask me who's going to win, and for once in my life I actually made a decision and I was telling everyone it would be Lewis Hamilton. My reasons why were the following:
  • We needed a seventh winner for the seventh race
  • If you look back to Lewis Hamilton's first win at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2007 you'll notice the date was Sunday, June 10, which it was this year too
  • And June 10 is even more significant to me because it's my birthday!
In 2007 I managed to get a picture with Lewis to celebrate and I thought I needed to get that picture again this year. I seem to be on form with my predictions this season because I also predicted Pastor Maldonado on the grid in Spain when Martin Brundle caught me by surprise on Sky Sports. The only problem is I'm not a gambler and I need to start putting my money where my mouth is!

DRS dramas

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Keith Sutton: To be honest I wasn't sure what was wrong with Michael Schumacher's Mercedes when he came into the pits for a second time in as many laps. It turned out his DRS was sticking open, but I was shooting with a 500mm lens from further down the pit lane and couldn't see exactly what was going in. Obviously, pitting twice is unusual so I made sure I got the shot and with it being his fifth retirement of the year it's quite a big story. You can see the mechanics pushing down on the DRS flap but it was no use, his race was over.

The winning moment

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Mark Sutton: We always try to get this finish shot even though it's a rush to get to it each year. As the leader goes through to start the last lap we have to run across to the pit wall, get our position (which doubles up for a podium shot) and have enough time to sneak in this shot of the driver crossing the line. I quickly whacked the shutter speed up to 1/2000th of a second because the cars are going so quick as they cross the line you need a quicker shutter speed. It's a great picture because you have the start-finish line with the words "Salut Gilles" - a tribute to Gilles Villeneuve who the circuit is also named after. It reminds me of the line of bricks that run across the finish line at Indianapolis and with the fans in the background it makes for a great shot. But it is a difficult image to capture because you have to shoot so fast as they come over that line at about 260 or 270 km/h. But it's unique to capture it and, like I said, we try to do it every year. This week it made it onto the cover of GP Week.

'Pure emotions'

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Mark Sutton: This image is full of pure emotions. The podium is the first time you really see the drivers' faces after they take their helmets off and it's the first time you get to gauge just what the position means to them. When they're spraying the champagne at each other and the crowd you get the opportunity to capture that emotion. Of course in Canada Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean were up on the podium too, but I would have had no idea they were there if it wasn't for my Fan Vision portable TV. I was telling the other photographers that Perez and Grosjean were up in the top three and the general response was a "what?" of disbelief. Fan Vision is a crucial bit of a kit for me because I can also listen to commentary and what is being said on the radio. I couldn't work without it!

Jumping Union Jack

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Mark Sutton: Canada suits Lewis Hamilton so well and they got the strategy right, but I'm sure that when he came out the pits behind Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso he was worried whether it was all going to pay off or not. Emotions seem to run high with Lewis and I think that's how a Formula One driver should be. When Lewis has his family, his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and his management team around him, it seems to make a big difference and it's great to see.

www.suttonimages.com/ | www.gpweek.com | Mark on Twitter

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