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The stories behind the best photos of the 2022 F1 season so far

Since the start of the 2022 F1 season, Michael Potts has been travelling to Grands Prix capturing photographs for RacingNews365.com. At the midway point of the campaign, he picks out his top shots so far and shares the stories behind them.

Verstappen – Monaco

We start with Max Verstappen celebrating his Miami win with his girlfriend Kelly Piquet. It was such a passionate celebration. Max had come from third on the grid, overtaking both Ferraris to take the lead. He managed to control things after the late Safety Car. It was exceptionally hot and you can see how much the race has taken out of him. These shots are a bit lucky because, as photographers, we need to claim our spots before the teams and partners arrive in the celebration area. It often means you can be far away from the action. This time it worked perfectly for me. I caught someone's mobile in the shot; what is interesting is the image on the phone is delayed compared to that in the moment.

Perez – Monaco

Sergio Perez got his first win of the season in Monaco. This photograph is from the team celebration after the race in the Red Bull swimming pool. It was an amazing moment, with the team enjoying a remarkable result. The celebration was delayed for several hours as Ferrari contested the result. We had to wait around as we didn't know when it would take place, and it was not easy to leave the Red Bull energy station due to the number of fans.

Latifi – Britain

Nicholas Latifi is often discredited as a driver. However, he did put in this very credible effort during qualifying for the British Grand Prix, getting his Williams into 10th place. This shot was taken during Q3, when the rain had started to fall again. I took this from Club corner and love the spray. You can see how he is leaning on the car as goes through the corner. Williams only brought an upgrade for one car to this race, and it was given to Alex Albon.

Zhou – Britain

Zhou Guanyu crashing at the British Grand Prix is next up. I've picked out a specific shot from the horror crash. It shows the roll hoop has been completely ground down and how the Halo is taking most of the pressure. You can see the front tyre has deflated but remained attached. I've shot this with a very fast shutter speed (1/1000 of a second). This lets me capture the sparks with some detail.

Russell – Britain

George Russell climbed out of his car and onto the barriers to see if Zhou was ok. Here he is on top of the tyre wall. It had taken some time for help to arrive and Zhou was trapped between the tyre wall and the fence, making his extraction difficult. You can see the marshal giving a thumbs up to show that Zhou is ok. He's wearing rubber gloves to protect himself from the electric elements of the car.

Stroll – Monaco

Another I've chosen is Lance Stroll crashing at the swimming pool complex in Monaco. This was in Q3; he has just over done it and clipped his wheel. It was a bit hairy as I was shooting through the same barrier that he crashed into. You can see parts of the car fragmenting. One of the great thing about Monaco is shooting through the barriers as you can get so close to the cars and capture them from unusual angles.

Sainz – Britain

Carlos Sainz celebrating his first victory at the British Grand Prix was a great moment. For once, it wasn't Verstappen benefitting from a Ferrari strategy mistake, but Charles Leclerc's teammate, Sainz. I loved his celebration here; it was so heartfelt. Drivers can sometimes be a bit underwhelming in their celebrations, but Sainz's was one of the best I've seen for some time. Checo in Monaco was also up there.

Tsunoda – Hungary

Yuki Tsunoda during final practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix is my next featured shot. There was so much standing water on the track that the car is throwing up a massive rooster tail. I've desaturated the image, leaving just Tsunoda's red helmet as the only splash of colour. I've shot this one at a fairly fast shutter speed to capture the water droplets as they are suspended in air.

Gasly – Austria

Pierre Gasly got spun around at the start of the Sprint race in Austria. He tangled with Lewis Hamilton and got shunted into the air. I thought we were going to have another bad crash like we did at Silverstone. I was shooting low down and, because of the hill, I missed some of the initial action, but was perfectly placed to get this image. There is something a bit more immediate about shooting from track level. At most venues the organisers erect a tower at the end of the straight for the photographers to capture the start shot, which is great, as you get a good view of everything that happens at the first corner. However, there are so many photographers there that it is nice to try something different.

Hulkenberg – Saudi Arabia

At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg was standing in for Sebastian Vettel, who had covid. This slow shutter speed shot taken at 1/10 of a second has the car dissolving under lights. The difference between shooting under lights compared to normal daylight is you have multiple light sources, spaced equally apart at the night races. These pick up patches of details and create more of a sense of movement compared to a similar shot during daylight, where the details merge together more.

Verstappen and Hamilton – Hungary

Verstappen and Hamilton embracing at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix is my final choice. It was great to see that even after such a tense championship last year. There is genuine respect and camaraderie between these two protagonists, and they can celebrate each other's success.

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