• Keith Sutton's Life Through a Lens

Monza Madness

Keith Sutton
September 11, 2013

F1 photographer Keith Sutton picks his six favourite shots from the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F5.6 | ISO speed: 400 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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Unfortunately we're without Mark at present after he broke his ankle, so I was present for a busy weekend at Monza and had to spend a lot of time in the paddock whereas the race is my forte. Luca di Montezemolo was there on Saturday and I've known him for a while now. He was heading for the garage and John Surtees was there, so the two of them were talking, but I couldn't get near the garage to get a shot as it was the usual massive scrum wherever Luca went. When I finally got to the front Luca was walking away but I shouted to him to ask him for a photo with John and he walked all the way back for me, which was great, and we got this shot of Ferrari's 1964 world champion with the current president.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/400s | Aperture: F11 | ISO speed: 160 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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I quite like the cheek of this guy - Billy from Williams - who I met at Williams when I was chatting to Michael Caines at the team. This was before the driver parade and he stood with this poster in the narrow walkway between the pits and the paddock so every driver had to come past him. He was getting it signed for charity and he got every driver except Lewis Hamilton to sign it within about five minutes; very impressive! I hope he caught up with Lewis later on as he was missing him and got 21 of the 22 there.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/500s | Aperture: F16 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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Rory Byrne and I go way back, all the way to 1981 in my Formula Two days when he was designing the Toleman. I love the story that he only comes to a grand prix on the Saturday at Monza. Three years ago I saw him and had been invited to the factory by Stefano Domenicali, so I mentioned that to Rory and he said we'd go for a pizza afterwards. So three years ago Alonso had won the race and there I was with Rory Byrne having a pizza in Maranello hearing some fantastic stories. He semi-retired but them came back and every year he carries on and caught him on the GP2 grid this year. Allied to that this weekend was the new with James Allison. Mark was on to me to get a portrait shot of him and I managed to get him on the grid before the race.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed: 640 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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I love this shot. I was on the start gantry - which was a bit of a gamble as I was the only one up there - and it gave me great shots of the crowds on the straight but I had to wait for the drivers to come out to the edge of the podium. All of the ticker tape and streamers went off in front of the grandstand, so that was then behind the podium for me with the angle I had and that meant I was in a great position to capture it all when Alonso and Webber walked out to spray the champagne.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F14 | ISO speed: 640 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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This sums up Monza. It makes me think back to 1981 when I was 21 years old and my first trip to Monza was in the McLaren transporter with Niki Lauda and John Watson's cars in the back. It was a two or three day drive but what I remember from that trip was getting stuck in the middle of that crowd. It was quite scary, and I had to find some height, so I ended up stood on the barrier, leaning on the fence to get some height to get the shots. Looking at this shot now, it's a fantastic atmosphere that you can see but you wouldn't want to be in the middle of it. You need some height and I was lucky enough to be on that start gantry to get it.

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/250s | Aperture: F4.5 | ISO speed: 2000 | Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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This was in the driver press conference after the race, and Alonso was asked about his complaints during the race about Vettel's rain light flashing. As Alonso tried to explain that the light was distracting, Vettel said "It's worse in here [with the TV lights". Alonso replied "Sebastian is not used to having a car in front so he doesn't know how it feels to have a red light on!" Eventually Vettel then said "I was trying to get away so it wasn't disturbing you so much!" and ruffled his hat playfully. It was nice to see that light-heartedness after the seriousness of the race.

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