Life through a lens: Russian Grand Prix

F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his favourite photos from the Russian Grand Prix

Nosing around

Camera: Nikon D4s | Lens: Nikkor 500mm F4ED | Shutter Speed: 1/1000s | Exposure: F6.3 | ISO: 400

This was taken after qualifying, which had been a bit of an anti-climax. Lewis Hamilton ended up aborting his lap after a mistake and parked his car in the garage rather than in parc ferme. We're not allowed into parc ferme until all the cars have crossed the line, so we have to wait and I only just got a photo of Nico Rosberg as he parked up with pole position secure. Sebastian Vettel was a bit later to arrive and by that time Lewis was already walking around and having a really good look at the Ferrari. I suppose he can compare it to his own car and ask questions to his engineers, but it's hard to believe he can learn that much from looking at it in parc ferme. He even had a look in the cockpit once Seb had jumped out! Next year Seb could be his biggest rival, so it was interesting to see how much attention he was paying to the Ferrari.

What the TV cameras didn't show

Camera: Nikon D4s | Nikkor 70-200mm & 1.4X extender 280mm | Shutter Speed: 1/1000s | Exposure: F6.3 | ISO: 400

I shot the start of the race from the photographers' tower at Turn 1 in order to capture the two Mercedes fighting in the first corner, but when I panned back through the pack I saw Nico Hulkenberg spinning. It looked like he spun on his own and ended up facing the wrong way before Marcus Ericsson collected him and went over the top. The TV cameras didn't really capture how close the Sauber got to Hulkenberg's head as it scraped along the side of the Force India. It just shows you that it could have been a lot worse than what it was and he was a very lucky boy. The rear wheel could have made contact with his head, but you just don't know what will happen in those circumstances and it all happens so quickly. I was lucky to pan round at the right time and had the right lens on my camera, because it was easy to miss if you had too long a lens.

Fighting Ferraris

Camera: Nikon D4s | Lens: Nikkor 500mm F4ED | Shutter Speed: 1/1000s | Exposure: F6.3 | ISO: 400

The two Ferraris were fighting for position and I got a sequence of photos of them going wheel-to-wheel into Turn 2. Sebastian Vettel attacked on the inside into the corner and Kimi Raikkonen had to run wide before resuming ahead of his team-mate. In the end Vettel got him two corners later and took the position, but it was a nice sequence to see two big-name drivers fighting it out in identical machinery. As they come towards you at Turn 2 they come over a crest, but I was a bit of a disappointed not to see more sparks from the rear of the car like we've had at other circuits. Even so, the wheel-to-wheel action was dramatic enough.

Champagne celebrations

Camera: Nikon D4s | Lens: Nikkor 500mm F4ED | Shutter Speed: 1/640s | Exposure: F5.6 | ISO: 400

I like this shot because he's spraying the champagne directly at the camera. We had another photographer shooting the podium from a more conventional angle, so I decided to base myself near the Mercedes team. When he celebrates Lewis generally tends to focus towards the team below, so that was the key to getting this photo and that comes down to having the experience to know that. This is a nice composition because the spray isn't covering his face and you can see the moment of passion with his expression and that hat! The only shame is that it wasn't a sunny podium, so all the images were a bit dull compared to some of the others we have had this year.