• Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton

Magical Monaco

Mark Sutton
June 1, 2011

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

Red Bull pool party

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/640 Sec | Aperture: 8.0 © Sutton Images
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Red Bull has been having pool-side celebrations at Monaco ever since David Coulthard finished on the podium in 2006 and Christian Horner lived up to his pre-race promise by jumping in wearing nothing more than a Superman cape. It's a great place to celebrate success and the last two years it's been the place to be after the race. I was actually stood side-on to the pool, knowing from past experience that they tend to jump at you and therefore you're cameras get soaked! The last thing that happened before everybody left was Sebastian Vettel doing this huge swallow dive off the edge and it reminded me of the statue by the Swimming Pool Chicane which was very appropriate for Monaco. He's bloody high in this photo and it would have been lovely to catch it from low down but I probably would have been too close for the lens I was using.

Geri Halliwell

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 300 mm F2.8 with 1.4x converter giving 420mm | Exposure: 1/320 Sec | Aperture: 4.5 © Sutton Images
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This was a funny sequence. I was on the pit wall during the race getting the pit stops and shooting down at the Swimming Pool Chicane. Geri Halliwell was at the Red Bull end and I took a couple of shots of her and her boyfriend, but at one point they all got out a can of Red Bull - whether this was set up I don't know. They were looking at the can like they'd never drunk the stuff before and then tasted it like they'd never tasted it before, and all this time I was reeling off a sequence of shots, almost paparazzi-style. Then all of a sudden she saw me on the pit wall taking photos and she just started killing herself laughing. So I don't know if it was a set up because it was a great sequence of photos for Red Bull's promotion and it's great for me because I got some interesting expressions from them. She's a fun person to photograph and she's certainly not shy of the camera.

Typically Monaco

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 300mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/1000 Sec | Aperture: 5.0 © Sutton Images
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This is a typical Monaco photo taken in the reflection of one of the fire marshal's helmets. Michael Schumacher wasn't actually moving at the time, which helped a lot because this is a very difficult shot to get when the cars are at high speed. Here the Red Bull and the Ferrari have come into the pits and the Mercedes is waiting for them to be pushed out of the way. You only get these mirrored helmets in France as far as I can tell so you immediately know it must be Monaco and it's something a bit different.

Bernie with his daughters

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 16-35mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/250 Sec | Aperture: 18.0 | ISO Speed: © Sutton Images
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It was nice to see Bernie Ecclestone and his two daughters there as a family. The girls are still quite passionate about motorsport and they love having their pictures taken. They both look like models, very pretty girls, and Bernie is always happy to oblige to photos. You can also see that they've all got permanent passes - the girls and their boyfriends - and those things are like gold dust. It's not the cleanest picture in the world with the paddock swipe gate in the background but it's just a nice shot.

Vettel at speed

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/30 Sec | Aperture: 25.0 © Sutton Images
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This is a race shot taken through the boats in the harbour and with the K grandstand behind. It's actually taken between Tabac and the entrance to the Swimming Pool complex on a short burst of acceleration. To capture the speed I took this at quite a slow shutter speed, just 1/30 second to give a blurred effect. It shows several sides to Monaco, the boats, the people and of course the car and it makes for a classic shot that's instantly recognisable.

Grandstand finish

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 | Exposure: 1/640 Sec | Aperture: 8.0 © Sutton Images
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This was GP Week's cover shot this week and was taken from the pit lane looking back down over the Swimming Pool section, just one or two laps before the crash. It was such an amazing atmosphere with so much buzz from the people as they were springing out of their seats to see if there would be a change of position. It reminded me of my first full year in Formula One in 1992 when Ayrton Senna held off Nigel Mansell in a brilliant battle through to the final laps. This year we lost out on what could have been an incredible finish as they were allowed to switch tyres under the red flag stoppage, which I think is a pathetic rule. Fernando Alonso even said in the press conference afterwards that he would have tried a move and that would have made for a thrilling finale to a brilliant race.

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