• Life Through a Lens

Memories of Monza

Mark Sutton
September 12, 2012

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

A marshal mirror

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 400 ¦ Aperture: F5.6 ¦ Focal length: 700.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/1000 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Shutter priority © Sutton Images
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For this shot I stood in the pit lane and he was actually on the pit wall. It's a hairy place to shoot from as you're actually stationed outside garages, so you have to have your wits about you and always be aware of your surroundings in case a car is coming in or out of the pits. The French style helmets are for fire marshals and the visor does flip up, but to get this shot you obviously need it down and you need the marshal to stay still; it's no good him turning his head to watch the car go past. I always think the helmets are a bit Darth Vader-like! You can actually see us reflected in the visor, but then that's part of what makes it such an effective picture - it's almost as if what he can see through his own eyes is being projected on to the visor.

Joyride

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 200 ¦ Aperture: F5.6 ¦ Focal length: 165.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/1000 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Shutter priority © Sutton Images
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This was Vettel's car coming back from final practice after he had stopped on track with an alternator failure. It's strange that he had the same problem twice in one weekend. I was just at the first corner tower after P3 ready to shoot the Porsches and this was being driven back the wrong way around the circuit! Italy has a way of its own, so it's not travelling the right way around the circuit and there's a marshal sat in the car enjoying a little play with the wheel. Red Bull mechanics were probably a bit unhappy when he arrived back outside their garage! It just sums up the Italian Grand Prix in a way, as there are so many punters without tabards that are able to get trackside; it's a bit corrupt in that sense because all of the 'Controllo' and people in a position of power seem to help their mates get close to the action without the necessary clearance.

Positioned at Parabolica

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 200 ¦ Aperture: F9 ¦ Focal length: 120.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/640 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Manual © Sutton Images
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This is a nice shot because it's so clean, with nothing between me and the cars. I know the opportunities from here well as I've done the Parabolica for about 20 years now! We try and cover the four main overtaking opportunities at the circuit - turn one, the Roggia chicane, Ascari chicane and Parabolica - and it allows me to do the grid shots first and then walk back from the grid to the last corner. I'm stood where the old banking joins the track, where it's a lot wider on to the start/finish straight, and Massa is stuck behind Ricciardo at this point, with Vettel and Alonso close behind; it's amazing how quick the cars come by you here. The old tower on the left had been done up a few years ago but it's good to see the history remains around the circuit, with a kerb still visible on the outside of where the banking joins the track. From here you can walk behind the grandstands to a photographers tower to shoot the podium (which is just above the middle Santander), so it's a great spot.

Billy on the hill

(Top image) Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 200 ¦ Aperture: F6.3 ¦ Focal length: 500.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/500 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Shutter priority © Sutton Images
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This top shot is Billy Hill, who's a McLaren fan who travels to a lot of the races. He's a bit of a character, but we've tried to promote him a bit and I think it's helped. He's just had a daughter who's ten weeks old and he and his wife brought her with them in a McLaren top! I was walking back from the grid to the Parabolica and with the megaphone he shouted "Sutton Images, Sutton Images take a picture!" He winds up anyone he can using the megaphone - he'd been drinking for a while - so I took the shot walking back from the grid. I had to shoot with the 500 but that meant changing the lens before taking them and lots of fans then try and get your attention. You ignore most of them but down by Parabolica the lower image of the Kubica flag was a knock-on as they had noticed me and asked me to take a shot. I thought it was great timing as it came on the same day as he won his comeback rally and shows that the support is still there for him if he can return to Formula One.

Forza Alonso

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 200 ¦ Aperture: F8 ¦ Focal length: 500.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/500 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Shutter priority © Sutton Images
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I thought this was a very funny moment from Fernando, and shows his state of mind to be quite the opposite to Lewis at present. He was in such a good mood all weekend; Alonso was present for a Ferrari presentation after a guy from Google won an auction for a 599 XX that was raising money for earthquake victims. However, having done his bit he then took a photo with his iPhone from the photographers' position to put on Twitter and probably beat us to uploading the picture! Franco from FOM is the cameraman who Fernando took this camera from; he knows the drivers and usually has them kissing into his lens or getting soaked! Fernando's trying to get them to wave here and the pictures were actually broadcast by FOM. I also noticed Fernando signed loads of autographs one morning when the rest of the drivers just walk in with a token wave for the fans - Alonso spent a good ten minutes making sure everyone got what they wanted from him. No wonder the tifosi love him so much.

The issue with Lewis

Model: Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV ¦ ISO Speed: 400 ¦ Aperture: F10 ¦ Focal length: 70.0mm ¦ Exposure: 1/320 Sec ¦ Exposure mode: Shutter priority © Sutton Images
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I don't know what's happened with Lewis but since the summer break he's been different. I spoke about shooting him on the Hungary podium and him looking up to us and being a bit emotional etc, but now something's changed. There are lots of reasons rumoured as to the reasons for his state of mind but it all seems to be building up on him. When he got pole he came in to parc ferme and didn't celebrate. After the race was similar, and even Jenson was still happy despite having a DNF which virtually ended his title hopes. McLaren only does team celebration photos when it wins, so we were all in position for it nice and early. We did the first 'one-two-three' to get a cheer from the team and Lewis did nothing. I think Whitmarsh said something to him then about getting a smile and the second time he gave us a fist pump, and then the third time - in this shot - Lewis pointed at everyone. It was a bit like a message to the media, I'm not sure what he meant by it but it felt like a message to the press to me.

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