Fans, press and spectators were left scratching their heads at Lewis Hamilton's uncharacteristically subdued behaviour after clinching his - and McLaren's - first pole position of the 2011 season in Korea, but both the driver and his team denied that there was anything amiss.
"I am happy. I am very happy," insisted Hamilton at the post-race press conference, while simultaneously appearing distinctly flat after his success at stopping Red Bull's run of poles.
"It's been a tough second half of the season, so it's great to be on pole," he said. "It's probably one of the first positives I've had for a while."
Asked if this ranked as his one of his most satisfying pole positions after all the months of controversy, Hamilton said that he didn't think so. "Probably the most satisfying of my career would have been my first pole position in Montreal" in 2007, he said. "This one is like them all."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh brushed aside enquiries about Hamilton seeming very downbeat. "It is not obligatory to whoop," he said. "The fact is we all have different styles and views, and we all enjoyed this moment."
Hamilton hadn't even been heard to respond over the team radio when told by his race engineer that he'd clinched pole, but Lewis said he was just savouring the moment: "It was good to hear, especially as I could hear the guys cheering in the background, so that makes me happy.
"It's a great feeling when you come across the line knowing you've done a good lap and it's a great feeling when you eventually have your engineer come across the radio and tell you," continued Hamilton, adding that it was some time after he had finished his lap until Vettel crossed the line and pole position was confirmed. He had been going through turns 3 and 4 when the news finally came through, and he hadn't known whether to expect pole - or another heartbreakingly so-close disappointment.
Adding that he was simply "massively chilled" about the day's work, Hamilton also pointed out that while pole was always good to have, it was merely a step on the way to race success.
"It doesn't really mean a huge amount because tomorrow is what counts," he said. "Tomorrow is the important day. I've had some difficult races in the past, but hopefully I'll try to redeem myself."
Martin Whitmarsh jokingly suggested that perhaps everyone had become a little too used to Red Bull's and Sebastian Vettel's exuberant post-qualifying celebrations over the past year, and that a change of style should be welcomed as being refreshing.
"I've got to confess we do listen to some of the other drivers [over the team radio]," said Whitmarsh. "But when they have got on pole I have to turn it off immediately so I don't have to hear Sebastian whooping it up in the car!
"Today I wasn't feverishly looking for that button to turn it off - so that felt good," he added.