• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

Six of the best from Silverstone

Mark Sutton
July 13, 2011

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

The Eddie and Bernie show

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm | Exposure: 1/250 Sec | Aperture: 9.0 © Sutton Images
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This was a bizarre moment and I must admit I still don't know what it was all about. It seemed to me like it was all to do with Eddie's glasses, which are very similar to Bernie's and very Andy Warhol-esque. Bernie pointed at them and then took them off him and Eddie retaliated by stealing Bernie's. They had a bit of a pretend scrap before calming down and posing for a photo wearing each other's eyewear. The two of them obviously have a good rapport going after all their time in F1 together and you can see that in the paddock at most weekends.

HRH Prince Harry in the paddock

Top photo: Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm | Exposure: 1/60 Sec | Aperture: 2.8 © Sutton Images
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We knew Prince Harry would come to the circuit on race day and there was actually an open pitch for agencies to be the Royal photographer for the day and get the best access. Rather predictably The Sun got it, but we still put two photographers on him to follow him around and get as many shots as possible. When he arrived there must have been about 40 or 50 photographers waiting for him at the swipe gate and he posed for photos with Jean Todt, Sir Jackie Stewart and Bernie Ecclestone. He then walked the length of the paddock to the Red Bull energy station and went down into the garage where I managed to get some good shots. The drivers were on the parade at the time but he was there with Christian Horner and got a close look at the cars. Then he went to McLaren but again there were no drivers. Eventually we managed to get him together with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and I was on pole position to get the shot. The paparazzi were after a shot of Button and Harry together because he's now going out with Button's ex-girlfriend Florence Brudenell-Bruce and that makes a good story for the papers!

Leaving the grid

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 600 mm | Exposure: 1/500 Sec | Aperture: 7.1 © Sutton Images
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Ahead of the race I was doing my usual grid walk, taking photos of the plethora of celebrities on the grid. As I walked off the back of the grid I looked back and saw a potential shot of the rear of the cars as they left the grid. There's quite a lot of heat haze with the all the exhaust, but I think all the rain lights make for a great photo and the focus is sharp on the last car which is Daniel Ricciardo's Hispania. It's a great shot and it made the Parting Shot in GP Week on Monday.

Button passes Massa

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 600 mm | Exposure: 1/500 Sec | Aperture: 5.6 © Sutton Images
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After the start I moved down to Club corner where there is now a great atmosphere during race. There's a big bank for people to sit on that reminds me of Donington or Brands Hatch, and when the British drivers come past there is a massive cheer from the crowd. It makes you feel really patriotic with a little tingle on the arms and it's a really special experience. There's also a big TV screen positioned there and I could see that Jenson Button was hot on the heels of Felipe Massa for quite a few laps before I took this photo. Eventually he got a good enough tow down the Hanger straight and managed to follow him through Stowe and pass into Vale. He made a massive lock-up but still made the move stick and it turned the whole atmosphere up another notch.

The view from the Wing

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm | Exposure: 1/250 Sec | Aperture: 10.0 © Sutton Images
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After the race I was looking for a good spot to get some photos of the podium when I remembered that the circuit had said I could go upstairs on the new Wing where no other photographers were allowed to go. Prince Harry had been up there for the race so security was tight, and as I ran up the stairs carrying all my kit a security guard stopped me and asked where I thought I was going. I explained who I was and he eventually let me past, but was still moaning as I made my way up to the top of the stairs - I ignored him. Once I was up there I made my way to the front of the balcony where Lord March and several members of the BRDC were watching. To be honest I got quite lucky because the drivers came down to the near end of the podium with their champagne, and without that the picture wouldn't have been the same. So in the end I had this great wide-angle shot of the celebrations, the cars in parc ferme and the teams celebrating in the pit lane.

Fernando and Ferrari

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm | Exposure: 1/250 Sec | Aperture: 8.0 © Sutton Images
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This was taken at about 5pm because Ferrari always waits until the official classification before it starts having any celebration shots. McLaren and Red Bull go for it straight away when they win, but Ferrari is a little bit more cautious about those kinds of things. We got some good photos of all the team together and then there were these flags on the floor and Fernando came forward and lifted it behind his back. The Italian photographers swarmed around him and I was just holding my camera in front of them and reeling off the shots. I was actually quite lucky to get this shot because it is lit by someone else's flash and I had no idea how it would come out when I pressed the shutter release. It was a perfect picture to end the day and it was nice to see a new winner on top of the podium. Obviously Vettel is on six wins and the rest are on three combined so it's still not looking that competitive, but we might have some more exciting races to come.

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