As with every grand prix, we were ready to cover another F1 race. We had a solid team of photographers and a good plan to cover the Australian grand prix in Melbourne, positioning each member at key locations along the whole circuit. Daniel Kalisz, an Australian photographer who was part of our team, picked turn 3/4 on the track: a great choice for what was about to unfold.
With the Nikon D5 he had borrowed from Nikon Australia, Daniel was ready to shoot the start of the race, which is when most incidents happen, as well as any overtakes which could happen at Turn 3/4. Then on the 17th lap, it happened. Down on the straight, when trying to pass on the outside, Fernando Alonso clipped the rear of Esteban Gutiérrez’s Haas at full speed and within seconds, it was mayhem.
Daniel hadn’t anticipated the crash but started shooting when Alonso, already in a completely wrecked car, came towards him. Using the Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and an AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, Daniel focused on the car and continued shooting until the car landed upside down. Despite it being close by, the focusing still tracked the event all the way through.
We were all astonished and relieved to see Alonso wave and walk away unscathed from a car, completely wrecked beyond recognition.
Sutton Images are now off to Bahrain, Sakhir to cover the next F1 race. Stay tuned, as we cover all the highlights.