Britain turned on a cool and cloudy day for day 2 of the British Grand Prix. The track is set in a rural area some 90 minutes from London by road. The countryside is quite quaint and there is plenty of space inside the track layout, in fact, it was used during the war as an active airfield. Around the perimeter of the track are a whole host of camping sites where luxury camper vans butt up against the simplest of 2 man tents and everyone has a smile on their face.
There were plenty of smiles on the faces of those at the track today as the F1 cars took centre stage with 2 x 90 minute sessions. For the first one, I shot from a number of vantage points at Luffields, a tight, 180 degree right hand turn.
The very first car out on track was Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, but his car looked a little different. Can you pick the addition? It is a clear windscreen that he was trialing and which may become a permanent feature on all cars next year although feedback from the punters has been largely negative.
The clouds added a level of interest to some of the wider shots like the one below.The building in the shot below took my eye and made a nice backdrop, it was just a shame that it was not a little bit windier as the flag looks a little limp.I tried a lot more slow shutter speed shots today using a 24-70mm, 70–200mm and my 500mm lens. The digital timing tower takes on an interesting look in the shot below when shot at 1/40th of a second.There is a sizable ferris wheel in the Fanzone so I moved to a spot that allowed me to place the cars in the foreground with the wheel dominating the background.There was a reasonable crowd in attendance with most of the lower seats in the Luffield stand full so I made sure I used a lens that cut off half way up the stand.This track is at least half a century old and is looking a little tired in parts. The shot below shows were we stand to shoot Luffield. We stand about 1.2m above the run off area and should a car get through the kitty litter at speed, there’s nothing really to stop it cleaning us up if it gets airborne and hurdles the 1.2m wall. But the chances of that are slim and we’ve all signed a piece of paper acknowledging the risks. It was a reasonable hike back to the bus stop after the session and then a 3 minute bus ride back to the media centre where I was able to edit most of my pics in the 90 minutes I allowed myself before walking downstairs to the pits where I shot the second session.
Getting down there 30 minutes prior to the start of the session gives you a chance to get shots of the drivers in their race suits and out of their cars. The Williams’ drivers always get ready at the front of their garage so they offer a great opportunity for close-up “getting ready” shots,
And then they are strapped into their car by a helper.Shooting into the various garages yielded plenty of shots of drivers snuggly coccooned in their vehicles, looking intense.I’ve not seen a policeman in the pits thus far this year so when I found this English bobby, I stopped for a pic. I had hoped to have photographed him a little further out in pit lane but he was not permitted to go any further than the red “Pit Lane” line which was a metre in front of the doorway he was guarding.These Red Bull team members were caught red handed watching TV while the practice session was running.During the 90 minutes I wandered up and back the 250m long pit lane taking care to look out for cars coming and going. I was very aware that one of the Ferraris was coming in for a stop and positioned myself about 20m away from the stopping spot and well clear of the line the car takes as it comes in. I got low and shot this.After a few seconds, it took off again and so I got up and proceeded to turn and walk up the pits at the exact moment the second Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikonnen came in for his stop/go exercise, he frightened shit out of me. Thankfully there were a few metres between me and the car but it certainly had my full attention.
Here is some other stuff I observed.
The seat above is Lewis Hamilton’s and it is personally molded from carbon fibre to fit his body shape. Below are a couple of Jolyon Palmer’s helmets. Next to the Stilo logo you can see some clear curled-over pieces of plastic. These are tear-offs that allow the driver to grab the tab and peel off a layer of plastic when it gets dirty and impedes visibility. This event will see more than 140,000 people here on Sunday to watch the race. It’s the best attended event of all of the grands prix with Mexico a close second. Many years ago the race was held on a Saturday here as the noise generated by the on-track activities disturbed those attending local churches. That is obviously no longer an issue, so in two days time, the 2017 GP will kick off at 1pm local time and I’ll be in a prime spot to capture the action.
Oh, and Bottas has had to accept a 5-place grid penalty for a gear box change, so that’ll make some of the top runners happy.
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