Usain Bolt is a tall man. I know this to be true because he was the man of the moment at the US GP in Austin this weekend. We’d been advised of his involvement and he was besieged by photographers and video cameramen as he emerged from the FIA suite a few hours before the race start. I managed to get a clean shot of him with some greenery behind as he headed to the media pen to do a round of interviews.. After that, his new best friend Lewis Hamilton, who is 2/3rds his height, took him for a couple of laps in this stunning looking Merc.As they exited the track I was up front and close to the great man as he and Lewis headed back to the garage for a quick photo opp.I was at the back of the throng and was luck to get any shot, holding the camera above my head and shooting live-view (via the screen).The Paddock had a real buzz about it today with plenty going on. Drivers were rushing about. And an ex-US President was with us. I’d like to show you a pic I took of him arriving but alas, I was nowhere near that so I had to settle for a pic of him on the podium. He actually walked into the silver side panel a moment before this pic was taken but Alexandre Molina (the Podium Guy) was there to steady him and get him and the trophy out to Lewis, who won easily. I actually met President Clinton many years ago in Australia and had a photo with him. I doubt he’d remember that.
Back in the Paddock pre-race I found Sebastian Vettel talking to a couple of Ferrari guests and took this shot using a 135mm, f2 lens which rendered the background soft.Mexican TV presenter Cristina Romero looked glamorous as she traversed the paddock en route to doing a piece to camera. Ferrari chairman, Sergio Marchionne, stopped to speak to a TV presenter and within a minute, he was besieged by media like seagulls fighting for a chip. He’s quite a popular chap.With a couple of hours to go before the race, the grid girls assumed their position on the straight and awaited the drivers who would do their pre-race circuit on the back of a truck waving to the fans.Not sure Lewis’ “tracky dacks” tucked into his socks is a winning look, but then again I could just be out of touch with fashion as he seemed quite confident with it.
Following this, I took the media shuttle to turn 12 and awaited the start. The cars brake heavily into this turn, from over 300km/hr to around 80km/hr and there were numerous overtakes their during the first few laps. Below is the field the first time they passed me.Below Vandoorne overtakes Alonso. Below, Alonso can be seen wearing pink gloves as part of the breast cancer awareness day? Some laps in, I spotted the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and noted it sounded “off’ and sure enough, his car slowed before he pulled it over to the grass and called it a day. There was more overtaking and cars running wide over the kerbs.
Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to complete the 56 laps so he won the major prize and was quite excited, jumping about like a madman. After he’d come back down to earth he collected his prize from President Clintonand then Usain Bolt interviewed the top 3 drivers. He was oblivious to Lewis about to pour cold champagne down his back until the liquid came in contact with his skin and then he moved.Lewis went over to the Paddock Club guests on the balcony next to the podium, gave them a spray and accepted that British flag and all the while, I was photographing the goings on from the other side of the track, up the back of the grandstand using a 400 and 600mm lens. It was a great day to be part of the travelling F1 circus and with Mexico this weekend, there’ll be just two races to go in the season. Thanks for getting all the way through this blog, you can now SHARE it with your friends and go and have a lie down.