• Life Through a Lens

Capturing all at COTA

Mark Sutton and Keith Sutton
November 20, 2013

F1 photographers Mark Sutton and Keith Sutton pick their six favourite shots from the United States Grand Prix

Mark Sutton Camera model: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/800s, Aperture: F5.6, ISO speed: 1000, Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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On the Friday morning when we had a delay due to fog a lot of the drivers came out of their garages and started talking to each other. It was quite a good 15 minutes of non-action if you will, and you need to be in the pits to capture these moments. Webber and Alonso were talking for ages and it was quite funny because Webber had come down to Ferrari and was just leaning on all of the spare nosecones! I couldn't hear them but I suspect they were talking about their different challenges next year, with it being Mark's penultimate weekend. It was a good time to be in the pits with the restrictions for all the photographers.

Mark Sutton Camera model: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/250s, Aperture: F13, ISO speed: 400, Lens: 14-24mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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This was Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Adrian's girlfriend Amanda all down below the podium. I did parc ferme and then got out of there because there was a big scrum going on, and as I got out I turned round and they were just there joking around. When the drivers came out on to the podium the three of them here were celebrating and swapping hats - Adrian had just taken one off of Christian's head - and they were all very relaxed after Seb's win. It was just something a bit different to see them playing about.

Keith Sutton Camera model: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/320s, Aperture: F5, ISO speed: 400, Lens: 24-70mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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On Thursday we were just stood there and Damon came over to have a chat and ended up wanting to try the new Nikon 200-400 F4 lens, so he wanted play with that. I gave him a few lessons and he's a keen photographer - I even did a book with him one year - and then behind him you can see Martin Brundle coming over who also had a play. I think because it's a very versatile zoom Damon enjoyed playing with it; you can see by his face that he was probably a bit surprised by what you can do with it.

Keith Sutton Camera model: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/1000s, Aperture: F8, ISO speed: 200, Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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We're lucky enough to know somebody who owns a hospitality suite at the first corner, so instead of doing it with all the other photographers head-on on the tower, it's just so nice to get a bit higher. I did it last year and didn't realise the crowd numbers on the hill below because I was focusing on the cars. That's what makes the picture, plus you've got downtown in the background and the pit garages and then you've got the crowd in the foreground. The bonus as well is that you can just swing round and get the cars exiting the corner too. That first corner is one of the most spectacular on the calendar and reminds me of Austria - which we'll go back to next year.

Mark Sutton Camera mode: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/800s, Aperture: F4.5, ISO speed: 400, Lens: 70-200mm Zoom © Sutton Images
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When Bernie arrives on the grid there are usually a few celebrities, but we also had the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders there this weekend too. When he walked on to the grid he just started chatting to them and it was quite a funny moment. It was good to see him in good spirits and it was a very hot day that day - almost 90F - so the atmosphere was good and Bernie seemed to be enjoying himself.

Mark Sutton Camera model: Nikon D4, Exposure time: 1/1000s, Aperture: F10, ISO speed: 400, Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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I've shot this on the really long lens - the 500mm - from quite far away and it's a bit from the side. That means I was able to get the reflection of his face in the trophy which looks a bit odd because the trophy is curved and it makes him look a bit like a gerbil! So he's kissing the trophy and you've got all of the reflection of the people in parc ferme down below. Obviously if you were head on you'd miss it and on the other side you'd probably miss it, but sometimes you just take a picture and it turns out you had the best angle too.

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