• Life Through a Lens

Smiles, silverware and a Spice Girl

Mark Sutton
July 30, 2014

F1 photographer Mark Sutton talks ESPN through his six favourite shots from the Hungarian Grand Prix

Dictating the pace

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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This was during the safety car for the Sergio Perez crash. Fernando Alonso was leading and I saw him holding up the pack as the safety car went by, he'd put his foot on the brake and was going slowly. I thought, 'uh oh, this could be a big shunt' because they are coming down that hill into that corner. Obviously there wasn't a crash, but it was very close behind him. It was nice to get a shot of Alonso leading as it's rare to see a red car out in front this season. It's amazing how a bit of rain and a few incidents can cause the field to be mixed round so drastically. Rain and those sort of things create quite a good spectacle, that's what you need every now and then to spice things up. Bernie had the thought of sprinklers a while ago but that might have been a step too far!

A matter of opinion

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F5 | ISO speed: 1000 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F5 | ISO speed: 1000 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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I haven't been in many press conferences this season to take photos, but when I do go there it always seems to kick off! Friday at the Hungaroring was no exception and Christian Horner became quite animated and outspoken when he was asked about the politics behind some of F1's future venues. I think he was getting bored of the questions to be honest, and it was all very political, which the teams don't really like. They don't like to stand politically for or against anything because they are governed by the FIA and FOM, so I can understand why Christian didn't want to talk about it.

However, he probably knows more than most people because he is close to Bernie Ecclestone and in charge of one of the top teams. He was waving his hands everywhere and gesticulating, which is great for pictures. We don't want someone sat there with their arms crossed because it makes for boring photos. Team bosses folding their arms is a bit of an old trick if they want to stop themselves giving away too much in body language, but Christian certainly wasn't holding back.

The spice is right in parc ferme

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F5 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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I saw this because I was in the prime position for the podium, I managed to get high up and swung round to see who was in the crowd. There were people running down the track and the pit lane so you're always looking for celebrities or people for a good shot. You're just looking to see who is there. They're obviously going to be looking up towards where we are as it's literally next to the podium so it's a good spot. I saw Horner and Geri Halliwell and thought I don't have any pictures of them yet.

The picture is made by Adrian Newey being there with his girlfriend Amanda as well. I did tweet this picture and Geri replied back saying 'Ha Ha Ha' - she probably thought she was a bit incognito here but I spotted her! When you're in a crowd of 200 or 300 people you don't see anybody, but when you're up above looking down it's easier. At this point I'm trying to shoot the podium as well so there's no time to stop and dwell on a shot. I think they've tried to keep this a bit low key but now it seems to be a bit more in the open. Geri keeps herself very discreet though, I don't think they arrive or leave together - they keep themselves to themselves which is fine!

Victory view

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed : 400 | Lens: 10.5mm Fish Eye © Sutton Images
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I thought I would take the fisheye because I knew I would be up at this point, the same place I took the Halliwell shots from. I actually took every lens with me. I didn't quite know when to use the fisheye because you don't want to overdo it, I just wanted to use it once. I thought when Daniel Ricciardo came on the podium was a good opportunity because I had to a choose a moment. As it turns out he's got his arm in the air which is great. For this I'm leant right over the wall so you don't get the wall in it! This has everything you can't really get on a wide-angle lens - fisheye gives it a more atmospheric feel. This is looking back from the podium view and I think it makes it a great picture. I was in a really perfect spot, there was only three of us there. You can shoot from the other side of the podium through the glass but you obviously run the risk of a reflection. It's very rare to get an opportunity for this kind of shot when you look at the remaining races; it won't happen in Belgium, at Monza it goes over the track. I could see it without anyone blocking me or anyone getting in the way.

The winning grin

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F6.3 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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As the drivers left the podium we shouted down and he was happy to do this. It's almost looking down on him. I got Fernando to do it as well, but he wasn't looking up as much as Daniel. Rather than just leaving the podium it gives us a proper podium tyre shot. It's shot in quite a long lens, I think this is 70-200mm, so you are quite governed by where he's going to be and what he's going to do. He's always up for it though, Daniel, and his smile really makes the podium at the moment because it's fantastic. For constant pictures to have someone smiling that often really is a plus for us.

The setting sun

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F16 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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This was on Friday night. I think it works here because it's like the sun setting on the first half of the season. We were working quite late in the pits, with the sun going down there's a really nice light on brakes and people working on the cars. Hungary is one of the best places for this. It's a great place to shoot the grid girls and the guys working on the cars, who are pepping them in parc ferme. This is good because we can go down the pit lane at any point in the evening - the only thing we don't get access to is support races! We need special tabards to cover anything non-F1. This is actually shot on track from the opening where you can walk from the pits to the starting grid. There's the silhouette of the lights and the grandstand, it looks really good. The sun did this every evening, actually, it looked really scenic and provided quite a different view of a grandstand than we're used to seeing.

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