• Life Through a Lens

A night to remember

Mark Sutton
April 9, 2014

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

The start

Camera: Nikon D4 | Exposure: 1/1000s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2000 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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The start of the race was quite spectacular and you can see Sergio Perez having a massive lock-up as he hits the brakes in the middle of the pack. The race started at 6pm so there was still a little bit of light in the sky and with the high ISO setting on the camera we are able to capture photos in low light. But actually at the first corner there are a lot of big lights and I would say it's the best lit part of the track - it's actually like daylight when you're down there. Incredible. I stayed there for pretty much the whole race because there was so much action going on. But the start was pretty spectacular with plenty of side-by-side action and a good chance to get this photo.

Hamilton v Rosberg

(Top photo) Camera: Nikon D4 | Exposure: 1/800s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2000 | Exposure mode: Manual | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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There was a good crowd on Sunday and they were enthralled by the action at Turn 1. You could hear them cheering over the sound of the engines at some points, which is something new for this year with the quieter cars. The battle between Lewis and Nico really got them going, with plenty of screaming and shouting as they battled into Turn 1. The head-on shot was taken from the photographers' tower and there were plenty of opportunities for photos as they were battling so much throughout the race. The shot from the rear was taken from the turn-in point of the first corner and there is a little hole there in the fence that I'd never seen before. I stayed there until the very end of the race just in case anything happened.

Bottas under braking

Camera: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2000 | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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This was another shot from Turn 1 as Valtteri Bottas got late on the brakes and nearly went into the back of Kimi Raikkonen. How he avoided him I don't know, because he got on the astroturf and there's not much grip out there. He kept it out of the wall and continued round, but I was waiting for him to hit the barrier to be completely honest. There were full-on battles between several cars into that corner during the race and it was great to photograph.

Turning the lights on

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320s | Aperture: F11 | ISO speed: 1000 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom © Sutton Images
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You have to congratulate the Bahrainis on what they did with the night race this year. A lot of people dissed it and said Formula One didn't need another night race, but obviously Bernie Ecclestone loves it because it increases the viewing audience on TV. They have invested a lot of money into this track over the last ten years and it's a really good facility. What they did lighting the track, the palm trees, water pools and banking made it look fantastic. It really enhanced it and they also put on a good show for the paying public with side shows behind the grandstands and a music stage as well. People will come back next year because it was so exciting and it may be that we get a lot more exciting races here.

Upside-down Esteban

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1250s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 1600 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom © Sutton Images
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I exchanged my position at Turn 1 with another of our photographers when the crash happened. That meant we still had a photo of the accident, but personally I only captured the aftermath. Fortunately Gutierrez was okay and able to get himself out of the car before the medical team showed up. He gave the thumbs up to the marshals while he was still sat in there to let them know he wasn't too seriously injured, but he did walk quite gingerly back to the paddock and seemed to be struggling a little bit. He's fine now because he was back at the track on Tuesday during the test in Bahrain, but I think the chassis was totalled because it landed on the roll structure.

Rosewater celebrations

Camera: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2000 | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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This is a lovely shot of Lewis on the podium while Nico pours the rosewater over his head. It reminds me of a photo of Ayrton Senna at Suzuka in 1988 taken by my brother Keith. It's very similar and to me it just says emotion and celebration. Of course it's actual champagne in Japan rather than the rosewater in Bahrain! You could tell that when they tasted it on the podium and grimaced!

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