Sebastian Vettel lead from start to finish today in the Hungarian Grand Prix held at the Hungaroring just 20 minutes from Budapest.It was a long and hot day for me so I’m going to fly through this, ok? Here we go, our time starts…………..NOW!
There was a monster crowd in attendance and they were certainly vocal. What impressed me was the fact that everyone, and I’m thinking the crowd today was around a hundred thousand people, managed to find their allotted seat by start time. 10 out of 10, good job!
I started early and found Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, playing table tennis. The grid girls looked like this last night at rehearsals, and like this just prior to the start.Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was playing a game best described as table tennis but for soccer (or football as the Europeans call it). He had skill and thankfully removed his hat and took the end which provided the best light for photography.He is a smooth guy and so is his father. I actually drove his dad in a drivers’ parade at a Rally Australia event in Perth many years ago.
Around noon, I had a fine meal in the Mercedes hospitality suite (thank you Mercedes) and dropped off a lovely pic of Niki Lauda to their Comms Manager Bradley Lord for signing and two copies for the racing legend in case he liked the pic. I took it in Montreal and have actually entered it in several portrait photography competitions.
After lunch, the drivers gathered in the paddock ahead of the drivers’ parade. Some sat and chatted while the photographers and cameramen swarmed.Daniil Kvyat listened to music.others played table tennis and Lewis Hamilton secreted himself away at the rear of one of the tents. Then it was time to hit the flat top truck for 10 minutes of waving practice. All bar Jolyon Palmer and Paul Di Resta passed!The grid girls shot t-shirts into one section of the crowd, which delighted the punters.While they shot shirts, the signage people laid out this very large sponsor sticker on the tarmac, however, after getting it down, someone realised it had been laid upside down. That resulted in it having to be peeled off, rotated 180 degrees by a dozen or so workers and re-laid.On the grid they had a pianist playing a magnificent piano and a violinist play the national anthem on a much smaller instrument.The drivers then took up their positions across the track for the national anthem.I couldn’t get a grid pass but was able to walk along the outside of the track with just the armco separating me from the drivers. This allowed me to get extremely close to a number of drivers prepping for the race and the hot weather. Sergio Perez elected to haver water poured over him.This is the back of Estaban Ocon.Carlos Sainz adjusted his helmet and HANS device.Finnish (or is it Finish) driver, Valterri Bottas is seen here about to put in his custom moulded earpieces. And this is Sebastian Vettel’s helmet, balaclava and gloves. The drivers’ helmets are the only part of their kit they actually own according to Peter from Arai Helmets. They are immensely personal and Arai, which supplies a number of drivers with their helmets, has a technician on hand at every GP to take care of this crucial piece of safety equipment.With 10 minutes to go until race start I walked up to the last corner and shot the below image showing the hectic nature of the minutes leading up to the start, and then the cars setting off on the formation lap. After taking this shot I was able to meander over to the 3rd last corner to shoot the field coming down the hill on the first lap. There was actually an incident at turn three which saw Daniel Ricciardo outed from the event so the actual field was strung out by the time they got to me. The shot above was from the formation lap. It’s a more pleasing image as the cars are closer together although a seasoned F1 follower would pick it wasn’t during a race as the cars would not be pointing in different directions like they are here, warming up their tyres.
The 90-minute race saw me photograph around the last 3 corners and the main straight. I was pleased with the pics I managed to snare as the light was great and many of the angles incorporated the crowd in the stands. I shot the below image through the very bottom gap in the armco so that the grass plays a part in the image. The low angle results in a) you being able to see underneath the car and b) it being quite uncomfortable to shoot.The image below is of stand-in driver for Felipe Massa, Paul Di Resta, negotiating the final bend. I shot this at 1/50th of a second to blur the background. As long as the driver’s helmet is sharp, it is considered a good image and while it could’ve been a bit sharper, it’ll do for today.With 15 laps to go, I walked up the outside of the track about 250m past the finish line to shoot the cars coming towards me. I noticed that the armco was in heavy shadow while the track was brightly lit so I got low, prefocused on a certain spot, and then followed the car while keeping my finger on the shutter. I loved the resultant shots and was happy to see F1.com use the first one as a banner pic for a story tonight. The above shot was cropped, below is a full frame. 15 minutes after shooting this, Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line in front of team mate Kimi Raikonnen to take home the 25 points.After a tricky trek across the track and up pit lane, I shot the podium from ground level capturing much champagne spray and happy driver faces. Well this is as happy as Kimi Raikonnen gets.There is now a 3 week summer break before racing resumes in Spa, Belgium.
Thanks to you for getting to the end and I now invite you to share this blog with your friends. Good bye from Budapest!