Failing jetpacks, awkward interviews and ‘d**kheads’ – The alternative F1 2023 awards

Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen and Machine Gun Kelly.

These three feature for some good, and some not so good, reasons.

With our full end of season awards coming out next week, we have taken a look at the funnier side of F1.

While Max Verstappen dominated the sport into near oblivion, there were plenty of intriguing moments to take place across the 2023 campaign.

From grid walk embarrassments, letters of apology and requests for knighthoods, here are’s alternative awards for the 2023 F1 season.

Most cursed

We don’t know what Daniel Ricciardo did to upset the racing gods but clearly they were no fan of him this year.

After arriving back in Formula 1, Ricciardo’s comeback lasted just two races when, in an attempt to avoid Oscar Piastri, the AlphaTauri driver crashed into the wall and broke his wrist.

He then had to watch on as Liam Lawson impressed but when he did return, his luck was not better. In his third race back, Ricciardo somehow got hit by the flying tyre of Alex Albon and although the red flag meant his car could be repaired, both he and Piastri restarted a lap down.

Then in the final race, a tear off strip got stuck in his brake duct and ruined his planned strategy.

Biggest shambles of the year

For the majority of the season, the organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix had this locked down after they somehow forgot that Esteban Ocon was going to make another stop in the race.

Forgetting that he had only run one compound so was mandated by the rules to make a stop, the organisers started letting photographers into the pit lane ready for the podium and it could have ended very nasty when Ocon arrived in the pits at 80km/h only to see a crowd in front of him.

But their blushes were saved by F1 itself who didn’t check if the water valves in Vegas were welded down properly.

With no support races, the impact of an F1 car going over the drain was an unknown quantity and proved enough to be lifted up by Ocon and then again by Carlos Sainz, whose car was destroyed by the impact.

F1 then didn’t cover themselves in glory when a lengthy delay between FP1 and FP2 meant they kicked fans out of the grandstand. But at least they got a $200 gift voucher…

Best quote

“You can’t get nine women pregnant and hope you have a baby in a month” – Otmar Szafnauer, July 2023

Best debate

Verstappen was not a happy man after George Russell crashed into him during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which led to the pair having a very public debate after the race.

Here’s how it played out in front of the camera.

GR: “I had no grip. I was locking up.”

MV: “Mate, we all have no grip. We all need to leave a little space. But expect it next time the same, you know. Dickhead.”

Verstappen continued the argument in his post-race interviews and was not happy with the explanation given by Russell.

“I just don’t understand why you need to take so much risk in lap one, understeer into my sidepod, create a hole,” Verstappen said. “We all have cold tyres, it’s easy to lock up.

“His beautiful way of explaining ‘ah mate, you know locked up, ah look at the onboard’. It doesn’t make sense.

“There’s a hole in the sidepod, it doesn’t look that great, it is what it is now and we’ll focus on tomorrow. ”

Worst grid walk interviewee

We’ve seen plenty of celebrities try to stop a Martin Brundle interview before it happens but Machine Gun Kelly brought something new to the table.

As a guest of Red Bull, MGK was on the grid in Sao Paulo but when Brundle asked him a question, he had the thousand yard stare of a man wondering if he left the oven on.

MGK then left the race before the end.

Best grid walk interviewee

Eurovision star Sam Ryder nailed the right balance between celebrity and excited fan and seemed more delighted to see Martin Brundle than any other person on the planet.

The ever-smiling Ryder described Brundle as a “legend” before giving him a warm embrace which made Brundle seem ever so slightly uncomfortable.

The Eurovision singer then ended the interview by apologising for “talking the ear off” Brundle.

If you want a guide of how to do a grid walk, look no further than him.

Best wingman

On the subject of grid walks, that brings us neatly onto the wingman in F1.

Three-time World Champion, knight of the realm and the best wingman a person could ask for. Ladies and gentlemen – Sir Jackie Stewart.

Most requests for a knighthood

Lawrence Stroll. In case you missed it…

Most denied requests for a knighthood on the grounds they are ineligible

Lawrence Stroll.

Most comedic moment

Oscar Piastri is starting to prove he is a natural at just about everything he does and if F1 doesn’t work out, he may well have a comedy career ahead of him.

To set the scene, it’s something that’s happened to all of us. You are flying your jetpack at the Austrian Grand Prix and the damn thing gives out, sending you tumbling down to the ground with a thud.

Well praise must go to the camera operator and the director for their timely cut to Piastri watching on from the McLaren garage.

His perfect reaction went viral and was one of the off-track highlights of the season.

Most determined person in F1

This one goes to someone not even in F1 and that is Michael Andretti. The former racer turned team owner has jumped through just about every hoop asked of him and still he has not been given his desired spot.

It is a mantra that could be used in any walk of life and we are pretty sure the 61-year-old could run a marathon on pure determination alone.

Best temper tantrum

Joining his father on this list is Lance Stroll who was rather furious after his Q1 exit in Qatar.

After getting out the car, his trainer was seen telling him he needed to go back out to be weighed by the FIA and Stroll was in no mood to hear it.

He shoved him and was later reported to the stewards for the incident. But it did give us another memorable moment…

Best interview

Q: “Lance we saw frustration from you on the TV screens, it obviously means so much to you. What are your emotions right now?”

LS: “Yeah, s**t.”

Q: “Sorry for the language there. What is not clicking for you behind the wheel at the moment?”

LS: “I don’t know.”

Q: “How does this change your mindset for the weekend? Is it now a test session? Are you going to go for it in the sprint?”

LS: “Keep driving.”

Biggest own goal

Plenty of contenders in this category but we are actually going to go all the way back to race one where, after a finish of P5 and P7, Mercedes took the unusual decision to publish an apology to their fans on their website.

The statement spoke of “hurt”, not making “knee-jerk reactions” and asking fans if they are “ready to join us for the fight back? If not, then there are no hard feelings.”

The letter fits into a wider narrative in sport of athletes feeling the need to apologise for sporting actions. Mistakes happen, so what? It was a cringe moment that no doubt had every other team laughing their socks off.

Most awkward interaction

Whatever you do, do not tell Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz that he is biased.

During his Notebook show, Kravitz spotted a young fan getting a picture with Russell. Kravitz then pointed out that the young fan was wearing a Ferrari cap and the fan came right back.

Taking one look at the Sky-branded mic, the fan said he reckoned Kravitz was a Mercedes fan and instead of letting it slide, the pit lane reporter got in a muddle.

Here’s the exchange:

Fan: “I think you are a Mercedes fan.”

Ted Kravitz: “No! I’m not a fan, I don’t like any of these teams.

Fan: “Sky Sports UK, so often you support Mercedes.”

TK: “No, I don’t. I don’t care what any of these teams do, I’m just here to report on them. You, on the other hand, are wearing a Ferrari hat so, clearly, you’re a Ferrari fan.”

In the words of Neville Southall: “Well done, he’s 13.”

Read next: The 12 worst-rated drivers of the F1 2023 season