Picture this: Our top pics from Monza 2022
We asked our snappers for their best pics from this year’s 6 Hours of Monza…
This year’s 6 Hours of Monza was an epic race full of action and drama with the picturesque Autodromo Nazionale Monza bathed in glorious sunshine to highlight the track action across the weekend.
We asked the FIA WEC official photographers - - for some of their favourites from this month’s race. Enjoy!
I knew I wanted to start the weekend at the iconic first corners of the track. The narrow chicane lets you integrate the curbs nicely and sometimes during the free practice sessions, you can get a whole pack in the background which will add a nice splash of colour to the image. With all that being said, one of the main reasons was that I was waiting for a car to hit the curbs hard and bounce a bit. After the first few minutes of the session I noticed that the #98 Northwest AMR Aston Martin was hitting the apex harder than the other GTE cars, so I focused on him for a bit. Next lap he comes by and there is a car in front, the next lap he doesn't hit the curb. Then he doesn't show up for a couple of minutes, which means he is probably in the pits. Then he finally came by "undisturbed" and hit that curb really hard!
Aston Martin in the shadows
Free Practice 2 was at 9:00 AM, so the light wouldn't be too harsh yet, and some shadows from the surrounding trees could still be long and reach all the way over the track. That's why I chose where the cars have just passed the Curva del Serraglio and are on their high-speed approach to the Variante Ascari. The light was really nice at that time and the high standing trees left and right of the track created some lovely shadows which had these pockets of light in between them. These cars come by so fast, so once they roughly approach your selected "spot of light" you just press the shutter button and hope that it will be right. One frame earlier and the back of the car is still in the shadow, one frame later and the front is engulfed in black.
The finish of the race in the GTE PRO class was a last-minute deal for Corvette. I came into their garage when the car was just crossing the start/finish line for the last lap and all mechanics were on their toes. You could feel the excitement in the garage and when the race director announced that it was okay for the teams to go to the pit wall, the whole crew rushed over and climbed the fence. Standing in between the mechanics for the finish you could really get the sense of how much it meant to them to get their first win in FIA WEC.
On the podium that feeling continued when the whole crew sang the full American anthem even when the music had stopped from the speakers. Once it was time for champagne, both drivers went to the edge of the podium and to the cheer of the whole crew below, doused the guys in that winning champagne.
It was really refreshing to see a new Hypercar in the WEC paddock in Monza, it’s beginning to feel like the start of a new era of LMH prototype racing with Peugeot launching their new Hypercar 9x8 it felt special to be a part of capturing this iconic moment in Hypercar racing history.
The brief was to shoot some behind the scenes images of the launch of the Peugeot team. Once the official photos had been captured, we had a 5-minute window with one of the cars. I worked side by side with the championship videographers while they captured their 360 footage of the car and motion pans around it for the reveal video. I took the opportunity to shoot the car from the side angle rather than the head on shots that other photographers were taking, as I discovered that the light was low enough to pop through one of the grandstands making for an interesting composition.
On the Thursday evening, after the launch of the Peugeot 9x8 whilst everyone went to edit their launch pictures, I hung around in the pit lane to capture some more shots. The sun was setting and it was golden hour and I wanted to make use of the perfect lighting conditions. To my surprise the team were doing a pitstop practice and the light was falling just right for the driver changeover, enabling me to capture some unique images. I’m never normally in the pits during sunset as I’m usually chasing a car on track so to be able to capture these moments was extra special.
Champagne showers in Monza for Corvette racing, after a heart break of a Le Mans race it was great to see Corvette take their first win in the FIA World Endurance Championship with a last-minute snatch of the race from #51 AF Corsa. The Corvette team is full of larger than life, high energy characters and it is obvious they bleed America. You could tell this win was special as the team's celebrations were just bigger than everyone else’s. Everything was set up for a great shot, Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner were up on the podium spraying the champagne down in celebration as the back lit sun caught the champagne spray falling into the mouths of their team-mates - the sweet taste of victory!
Arriving in Monza, the whole weekend all eyes have been on the newcomer, the fantastic Peugeot 9x8 Hypercar. Everyone wanted to get a first sight of the Peugeot, take photos of it or just enjoy the view of this super interesting new concept. So it wasn’t easy at all to take photos of the team, or the car without other people crashing your photo. On Thursday evening the official group photo of Peugeot was set to take place on the start finish line. We went there to take some behind the scene shots and were hoping for some portraits of the drivers. The plan came out great as we captured a lot of good photos and a great team photo, which will be well known history in let’s say 20 years. Nevertheless, the photo I like the most was taken after the official photos had been done. The sun was setting behind the old grandstands which made for awesome light when the mechanics started to push the #94 back into pitlane. All the tension of the official photo was gone and you could clearly see the mechanics becoming a bit more relaxed at the end of the day which made for a great photo with the sun covering the silhouette of the 9x8.
I´ve never been to Monza before and therefore I had absolutely no idea you would have such a great panoramic view with mountains in the background. I watched a lot of racing on tv and always pay attention to good photography after the race weekends, but I can’t remember having seen someone framing the panorama view into a photo or the tv coverage. I tried to get a nice framing the whole weekend and in the end it took me 3-4 different angles around the track to get a photo that really shows what I could see with my eyes. It's just insane to watch race cars and having such nature in the background. And since we raced in the heart of Ferrari, I clearly had to pick one shot of the Ferraris. Seen here fighting for position with the Porsche, getting lapped by the all-new Peugeot hypercar.
Photography is all about light. You can have the best scenery you could imagine, but if there is no great light, you probably won't take any decent shots. If the sun suddenly pops out, the following shots will for sure turn out better than the ones before. So as a photographer, you always hunt the light. In preparation for the race, I always check the position of the sun during the day for each corner. With this knowledge, I can prepare myself a plan for when and where to go during the race to make the most out of the light. Close to the end of the race I had hoped for some low sun to make some atmospheric shots. To be honest, I didn’t expect the sun to be that low already. So I was super happy when I was able to not only catch the nice light but also frame the sun itself into the picture creating such a nice lens flare. A great end to a great race weekend!