After a few weeks of Ferrari excitement, things returned to normal with a 1-2 finish for Mercedes in Sochi yesterday and Lewis was certainly happy.But let me share some of my memories of the past 3 days starting off with yesterday’s race. I shot the start from the photographers’ tower at the 2nd corner. A hundred metres further on, there’s a photography hole in the wirethat allows us to shoot a slow pan that blurs the lovely blue exterior of the ice rink in the background. From the same spot I could position the top of the Ferris wheel in the background as the cars came towards me.The shot above doesn’t look anywhere near as good on Friday or Saturday when the stand is not full.
A bit further around the track, it was possible to put the Olympic flame structure in the background of this shot.Prior to the race I spent the usual 30 minutes on the grid looking for interesting shots. Not able to get front row behind the drivers as they stood for the national anthem, I shot over the top of the people in front of me for a different perspective.Of the grid pics I shot, I liked this one for the way Daniel’s helmet glistens in the sun, and this one which shows the intense interest in Charles Leclerc as he waits beside his car before heading to the front of the grid for the national anthem.As usual, many of the drivers head back to the garage for a wee or just a break from the throng of people on the grid and then they have to get back. Seb was late so he jogged the pit lane. Lewis did it in 1/3rd of the time on his scooter. While others just walked it with their trainers. We were lucky with the weather. The forecast leading up to Sunday had indicated there would be rain. However, that forecast was miles off as the skies were largely clear, with some light fluffy clouds and glorious light. For a good part of the day, the paddock was in shade, so this was a rare chance to shoot the drivers in nice light as they walked the red carpet. I used my 85 mm lens (it’s an absolute cracker) and was well happy with the richness of these images.Each Monday I do an Insta post called Women of the Paddock. In today’s series of 10 pictures, Italian TV presenter Federica Masolin features and I particularly liked her knitted top and as always, I’m thankful when subjects look into the lens as she does here. This youngster also took my eye, the youngest person I spotted in the paddock over the 4 days. The two-year-old was with her mum who was working for the race organiser. Earlier in the morning I headed out of the paddock and photographed Sebastian Vettel arriving. A local guy was the only one near Seb and he went up to the Ferrari driver and asked if he could play a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors with him.
Now that is a first. Seb obliged the enthusiastic fan for many rounds and afterwards I asked the German driver how he had fared, to which he responded, “He beat me 3 – nil”.Danny Kvyat and his trainer Stuart Smith are now starting to have some fun with me. When they drove past me as they parked, both flipped me the bird and when they walked back towards me and the paddock entrance, they walked out of the sun and right up against the fence to bugger up my shot (note Stuart’s sly grin). But I did follow them in and called out to Danny from behind to get this pic. A sort of a win. On the Saturday I was in the pits for FP3 and played around with some slow shutter speed shots at one end of pit lane. And in the afternoon for qualification, I didn’t even go out on track, instead I stayed in the paddock and shot the drivers who were eliminated from Q1 and 2 in the TV media pen where the light was perfect. I did slip into the pit lane in time for the top 3 drivers to park on the track where Charles Leclerc celebrated his pole position and shot this image with my 600mm lens.And this one with a 135mm lens, and this with a 35mm lens just 30cm from Charles through a gap in the gate.It’s fair to say I’ve met some great people in my two and a half year F1 career, including these three giants of the photographic game. In the middle is Getty Images F1 supremo Mark Thompson, left is another great Getty shooter Clive Mason and on the right Will Medhurst Taylor who spends 40 hours over 4 days, with his head in his computer screen editing and captioning pictures for Getty in the media centre. All three are very funny Brits.Some other fine people I enjoy being around are Alice Wright (right), who works for the FIA and her friend Antonia Seegerer.And then there’s camera-shy Mia Djacic, Charles’ press officer from Ferrari who I snapped holding something special for me. I took the pic of Charles holding up a knife and fork as he exited the engineering garage at testing in Barcelona earlier this year. I left this print with Mia for Charles to sign a couple of months ago. As per usual, I ask the driver to write a couple of words about the shot when they sign it, so I was thrilled to get it back yesterday, signed and with a comment about the moment and some complimentary words about my images. So that’ll get framed for my Perth office.
And on that note I shall go and catch my flight back to Perth. Thanks for reading this and remember, you can own any of my images by heading to www.prostarpics.com where you can search my database of 40,000+ images using keywords.
Do svidaniya from Russia.