Thursday at Interlagos was one of the quietest first days this year with no fan day and some rain mid afternoon to shut things down.
I arrived into Sao Paulo Wednesday evening after 25 hours in the air and was up early to endure Sao Paulo’s traffic en route to the track.
The track is great; lots of rises and drops and very green. Photography-wise there are many sections where there is no wire above the Armco which makes picture taking a whole lot easier.There were 2 press conferences on Thursday, with Felipe Massa having some fun with his team mate in the first one, and Kimi Raikonnen his dry self in the second.F1 rookie Brendon Hartley had a mic hiccup but Matteo Bonciani, who normally hosts the press conferences was on hand to help the Kiwi.I walked the track, well half of it until the safety car came hurtling around a bend with me off to the side on the grass. Thankfully I was able to get out of the way without endangering my good self or the vehicles. En route, I spied this impressive local bird and watched it a few others swoop marshals who, I presume, came too close to one of their nests. Later in the day I spent time in the pits looking for abstract shots to kill the time.Nigel from Red Bull was polishing their garage floorAnd there were plenty of shots of drivers in motion in the Paddock and doing interviews. So that was Thursday; a relaxing day. Now, on to today and arriving early was Max Verstappen’s step mother wearing an interesting shade of lipstick; colour coordinating it with her jacket.The morning practice session saw me out around the winding part of the track where I could see this massive Red Bull flag that covered the seats.It’s possible to stand high above the track and shoot through the trees. Not far away from that spot I shot with the buildings in the background. I liked the shot below with just the top of the car visible and the one below that was shot through the armco as the cars head on to the start/finish straight.But the most interesting thing for me in the session was Brendon Hartley’s Renault engine starting to smoke as it went past me.He ended up stopping a few hundred metres short of the pits and I only happened upon the car as I climbed up a hill.I presumed (wrongly) that he’d walked back to the pits or got a lift on a bike so I headed back down the hill and then spotted him spectating. It was too hard to climb back up the hill so I shot from where I was but I liked the angle and F1.com used this as their banner pic for today’s Best Of gallery.I was surprised to discover that we are allowed to stand right next to the pit lane entry fence which has no wire above. I shot this to show how close we are to the cars and nearly shit myself when Lewis got to me as I wasn’t expecting the noise and wind. The afternoon session saw me in the pits where Force India driver Esteban Ocon had just put his helmet on. You’ll notice the label on the visor indicating which type of tear off plastic is being used. Lewis Hamilton arranged his tackle (as he always does) before lowering him self into the cockpit.I use a 500mm lens so that I can get in tight on the drivers’ eyes like here with Valtteri Bottas. Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t mind having a laugh in the garage and thankfully gets into the car without his helmet unlike most of the other drivers. He also sits in the car post-session with his helmet off allowing for this type of shot.There were the standard shots of cars exiting the garage and returning to their pit boxes. The cars turn left as they exit the pit lane and drive in front of the Sao Paulo sign. At the end of the session I was delighted to snap Fernando Alonso walking pit lane with no cameraman anywhere near him. And here’s the world champ giving the punters a wave.And that did endeth my day.
Let the record show that Sao Paulo traffic is the worst of any grand prix thus far this year and the roads are as bumpy as hell making typing this blog (which I am doing from the passenger seat) a challenge.
More tomorrow so check back hey. Obregado