Despite Valtteri Bottas winning the 2019 US GP, the day was all about this man. By coming second, Lewis wrapped up the 2019 F1 Drivers’ Championship and as such, he got the front and centre position in parc ferme, the position normally reserved for the race winner. As you can see from the sign, they had planned ahead.
Nearly an hour after the race had finished and after the podium and press conference, the media were assembled in front of the Mercedes garage in readiness for the team celebration. Those shooters in the front had probably waited 30 minutes, but I chose to edit in the media centre which is in the same building as the press conference room.
As Lewis exited the press conference, instead of going out the normal doors and into the paddock, he walked through the media centre.I was one of only a couple of photographers to shoot this, and when the room realised he was passing through, everybody applauded. I had never experienced that, so it took me by surprise and I can’t remember a driver ever being in the media centre before this.
He then made his way to the front of the Mercedes garage where he posed for a pic with Valtteri and then one on his own out front of his team – that was the moment the champagne appeared and he was beset upon by the media. I found myself front and centre, copping some of the sticky bubbly. He was then hoisted onto the shoulders of two team members but he was facing away from me and as you can see, that wasn’t much of a shot. I then asked the mechanic closest to me if he could turn Lewis around. He told his other “hoister” that they were going to turn and a few seconds later he was right in front of me. I had pole position! At that point I realised how lucky I was to be in that spot, capturing a moment of F1 history and realising that so many diehard fans would’ve given almost anything to be in my shoes.
Earlier in the day I was excited to find this man on the grid – will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. I love his music and his style. The light was beautiful for the drivers’ parade and grid, with deep blue skies and some light wispy clouds making for a great background. This shot of Charles Leclerc is one of my favourites.Daniel Ricciardo was wearing a Texas Longhorn football jumper much to the delight of the locals,and when Carlos Sainz’s parade lap car wouldn’t start, he hitched a ride with Alex Albon.Being in Texas, it was only right that we were treated to the colourful sight of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders forming a guard of honour for the drivers. I was lucky to get this shot of Lando in the paddock early on Sunday morning. Rarely is the paddock this empty on race day and having positioned the camera on the ground, I was forced to shoot blind, so there was no guarantee he was going to be in focus, but he was and it was one of my favourite shots of the morning. And here’s Lance Stroll playing with a football. The grid was one of the busiest of the year and as usual, I waited for the drivers to return after their wee-break, walking along pit lane. On Saturday I was just inches away from a happy and smiley Valtteri Bottas after he secured pole position. And on the other side of the paddock building, a fan on the first level was begging Nico Rosberg to sign a shirt which he’d thrown down. Nico raced over to grab it, dropping his radio mic, and then signed the shirt and tied it into a knot before returning it to the first level for the excited fan.Actor and F1 fan, Michael Douglas, was a guest of Racing Point on Saturday and Sunday. And I liked this “out there” Louis Vuitton bag.With the bitterly cold weather of Thursday and Friday, scarves were the order of the day.I captured Kimi Räikkönen disappearing into a hedge.My best car pic of the weekend was this shot of Charles Leclerc kicking up some dust as he ran wide over a crest. And this was probably second best.And on Friday morning I shot Lando Norris, his trainer and his manager going for a jog in the city.That wraps up my US GP – now I start the long trek back to Perth for 6 days.
If you’re going to the Abu Dhabi GP, please join me for one of my long table dinners on the Friday of the race. Click here for details.
More from Brazil in 11 days.