Although Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2017 World Drivers’ Championship at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday, Christian Horner felt the day belonged to Max Verstappen, who enjoyed his most dominant race victory of his career to date.
Whilst congratulating Hamilton’s achievement of four championships in Formula 1, emulating the feat that Sebastian Vettel achieved whilst with Red Bull Racing between 2010 and 2013, Horner was full of praise for the job that Verstappen did in Mexico City, jumping into the lead with a superb pass on Vettel into turn two before pulling a gap over the chasing field.
Verstappen ultimately won the seventy-one lap race by almost twenty seconds from Valtteri Bottas, with Team Principal Horner saying it was a completely dominant performance from the young Dutchman.
“Firstly huge congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team, four times world champion; we know how difficult that is to achieve,” said Horner. “He’s now the most successful British driver of all time; but today belonged to Max.
“After a good start he braved it out at the first couple of turns and after some good, close racing he emerged in the lead and from there onwards he was totally dominant and controlled the race to score his third Grand Prix victory quite comfortably.”
The downside of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend was the early retirement of Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered a turbo failure on what was a brand new engine that was fitted post-qualifying, and Horner felt the Australian could have taken a podium finish despite starting sixteenth on the grid.
“Conversely it was very disappointing for Daniel today, we took the penalty to avoid just that scenario and unfortunately he had what looks like an MGU-H failure,” said Horner.
“He had managed to get up to P7 before having to retire and for sure would have been on the podium. So that’s our only frustration, but we will certainly savour the moment with Max’s victory here in Mexico City.”