Like you, I know that awkward moments create the finest humor. That's why the podium for the Malaysian Grand Prix was so amazing.
As the excellent blog Axis of Oversteer pointed out, the guy in first admitted he should have been second, the guy in third admitted he should have been fourth, and the guy in second just crotch-thrusted his way through a festival of awkward.
For those of you not familiar with the second race of this F1 season, Red Bull's top driver Sebastian Vettel broke team rules (though no explicit F1 rules) to pass his teammate Mark Webber for the win. Mercedes' second driver Nico Rosberg held himself back from passing his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was running on fumes. Vettel's pass is contentious because his team ordered him to stay in second and because Mark Webber had turned down his engine to preserve his car and tires in the lead.
So when Vettel squeezed past Mark, almost taking the two drivers out from the lead (it wouldn't have been the first time that'd happened), Mark was understandably pissed. How close was the squeeze? This close:
After dicing wheel-to-wheel (the most interesting part of the whole race), Mark then did the mature thing and gave Seb the finger.
The two drivers then had to share the podium together. Let's break down how things went.
At right we have Martin Brundle, ex-F1 driver and F1 commentator performing the post race interviews right there on the podium, minutes after the race has ended. The drivers are filled with adrenaline. Second from right is third place Lewis Hamilton, pulling at his ear because the two men next to him want to kill each other.
Note the "shit is about to go down" smiles on the faces of both Brundle and Hamilton.
Center is winner Sebastian Vettel, who is looking less-than-chipper with his hand in his pocket and his tongue sticking out. At far left is Mark Webber, who is "stretching" his crotch while Vettel is taking a question.
Take a closer look here.
Note Vettel's submissive body language, Mark's bitten tongue, and his noted crotchual area.
Vettel, here, is trying his hardest not to look at Mark. Mark, meanwhile, continues to stare straight into the back of Vettel's head, possibly containing the desire to go Aussi-whoopass on the young German.
Don't think that Mark was being mean to innocent little Vettel, who was seen earlier in the debrief room immediately after the race drinking a bottle of Mark's tears.
This tear-drinking incident was in response to Mark walking into the room proclaiming, "Multi 21, Seb...Yeah, Multi 21." Here's Mark's expression.
Note the surprise and confusion on Mark's face. Multi 21 does not refer to the multivitamin endorsed by Webber, but rather Red Bull's code for team orders.
Let's now return to the podium for Mark's interview. The millions of people watching this race knew this was going to be good, and it was.
The other two drivers patiently awaited the inevitable train wreck.
Here's Mark firmly placing the knife into Seb's back, explaining how he was only passed because the team told both him and Vettel to slow down.
We were watching a broken man. Naturally, I watched this bit at least a dozen times.
As Mark continued to ramble about Seb's treachery, the camera cut to Christian Horner, Team Principal for Red Bull, along with another member of the Red Bull team.
These are not the happy faces of a winning team. Vettel was not looking pleased either.
With three world championship titles to his name, I suppose Seb is bored of winning by now, but this level of unhappiness on the podium was unprecedented. Meanwhile, the boss of Red Bull, the tough-as-nails, blinded-in-one-eye Helmut Marko, was looking as badass as ever.
Marko later stated in an interview, "We told the drivers to stay in position, because we were worried about the tire wear, but at this stage it got out of control I have to say...When Vettel had come up behind Mark - At this point you cannot talk to race drivers." Then he shrugged and walked away.
After the podium interviews there were more interviews, which brought me inappropriate levels of joy. Here is Mark's face while contemplating a diplomatic response to a tough question.
Questions continued to pile in, some regarding Mark's earlier statement on Vettel's move, "Seb made his own decisions and he'll have protection as usual." Mark decided it was a good time to stop.
In the end, whether you like Vettel or not, we all know that Mark got a lot of new fans from last race. Judging by his look on the podium, I think he'd rather have a win, though.