It’s fair to say the Singapore Grand Prix was one of the most interesting races this year after the big shunt at the first corner shook the field up. Unfortunately for me, I was positioned at turn 19 so I only heard about it on the BBC broadcast I listen to via the F1.com app. But let me hark back to the start of the day when I spent 90 minutes scouring the paddock for someone to photograph like ex-Red Bull driver (or pilot as the Europeans call them) Mark Webber and silvertop Damon Hill..Valtteri Bottas was kind enough to look directly at the lens of my camera.David Coulthard (below) was looking as smooth as ever. Max Verstappen stopped to talk to someone which allowed me some time to position myself so that I had some nice out of focus greenery in the background of this photograph.The attractive European TV presenters were all kitted up with their audio gear slung from their waists so as not to be visible on TV.Then at 6.30pm, the world’s media gathered on the grid to await the drivers who would be presented to the crowd seated in or on their own classic car. The grid girls were in position.The thing is, the drivers were supposed to walk the red carpet which was lined on both sides by the Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew. Daniil Kvyat was the first to emerge and walk the carpet,however, Daniel Ricciardo stopped for an interview just behind him which resulted in all of the drivers taking that as a reason to avoid the carpet and wander through the cars leaving the 25-odd photographers who had positioned themselves to get the red carpet shot, without a shot.
Russian Evgeniy Safronov had to get his arse up off the ground where he was positioned for a low level shot. There were certainly some beautiful cars on the grid. Once they’d departed, many of the photographers walked the 200metres back to the final turn to get a clean shot of the drivers returning. Lewis alighted from his vehicle smiling, but of course, he would wear an even bigger smile later that evening. And then we all headed back to the paddock; at least the grid girls followed instructions and used the red carpet.For the start of the race I went to turn 21 as I agreed to shoot the start for DHL. They needed images where their signage and at least 3 cars were visible as they plan to use the pics in their marketing and can only do so if 3 or more cars are visible. This stops sponsors using just the major teams’ cars.
Below is the first time the cars came past in race mode (i.e. not behind the safety car).And here’s one of very few race day photos of the two Ferraris, taken on the formation lap; they sandwiched Max Verstappen in the run to the first corner wiping all three, and Fernando Alonso, out of the race. I’m sad to say there were no incidents on this corner but I do look forward to seeing these images pop up on DHL’s social or regular media. For the following hour I shot around the final 4 corners of the track but was not lucky enough to have anything exciting happen.
With 35 minutes to go until the end of the race, I walked the 800m back to the media centre and sent off some pics before changing cameras and queueing up in the passage out to parc ferme for the arrival of the top 3 cars and then the podium. When they flung open the doors, I was the 5th photographer out but every one of the 5 in front, wanted the same spot on the fence as I wanted so I had to squeeze into a corner that resulted in me having to compromise on many of the shots I wanted. I was thankful that by leaning out and over the rail I was able to take this sharp shot of Lewis Hamilton celebrating his win on top of his car.He then walked right past me so I figure I’ll probably be visible on the TV coverage; have to check that when I watch the race in full. The podium celebration was next and I chose to shoot it from the same spot I stood for parc ferme which is under the number 5 on the concrete wall below.There was fireworks going off behind the podium which added extra colour to the shot above.I loved the shot above as I copped a fair whack of the sticky liquid being sprayed by Daniel Ricciardo. It drenched my shirt and fell right onto the lens which has caused the round halo effect. A little later on, the second place-getter would pour the Carbon champagne into his team member’s mouth from a great height. After wiping the champagne from the cameras I went back upstairs to the media conference room and found all of the grid girls lined up waiting for the drivers to emerge. Below is Daniel Ricciardo flanked by “podium guy” Alexandre Molina and “media guy” Matteo Bonciani, two guys with plenty of responsibility on race days. While there is a cameraman on the left, I was the only photographer here to witness this. The press conference got off to a rather unusual start when, before the live internet and TV audience was welcomed, Daniel mentioned, “I have to fart guys” and did. This brought about great laughter from the small group of media and the Mercedes drivers. When the full effect of the fart was realised, Lewis produced his towel to wave it away. It was a fun moment.I don’t know whether you’ve noticed this before, but when a driver has worn their balaclava for some time, like during a race, it leaves an indentation on their cheek where their helmet has applied pressure. You can see the mark on Valtteri’s cheek below. Back in the media centre there was 90 minutes of editing and uploading of images to my clients’ sites. Here’s a pic of the Sutton’s team on the job this weekend. What should strike you is the amount kit and crap on the desks. Seen above from bottom left and clockwise, local Singaporean Lionel Ng, Deutschlander Mirko Stange, Brit Mark Sutton and his 19 year old son James and Italian Manuel Goria. The clown in the orange shirt is Getty photographer Mark Thompson, a veteran of 18 years and a man who’s not missed one race over that period.
After taking this pic, my last of the Singapore GP, I walked back along the track to my hotel and while en route had a brief chat with 4th placed Carlos Sainz as he too was on foot to his hotel. He was pretty pleased with his result.
A little over a week off and then it’s off to Malaysia for an even hotter and more humid race in Kuala Lumpur.