Christian Horner felt the result of the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday was ‘bitter sweet’, despite Max Verstappen giving Aston Martin Red Bull Racing their fourth victory of the season.
Verstappen took the lead at the start and controlled the race thereafter to secure his fifth career Formula 1 victory, but for Horner, the gloss was taken off the result by Daniel Ricciardo’s latest retirement whilst running second.
Despite the disappointment for Ricciardo, Horner could not fault the performance of Verstappen, who he felt drove superbly and in an extremely mature manner to claim a second win in as many seasons at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“I’m delighted that the Team secured a victory here today, but it’s bitter sweet to have lost Daniel who was fighting so hard to maintain second place,” said Horner. “It was a fantastic drive by Max.
“He reacted incredibly quickly at the start and managed to hold his line and re-pass Lewis into Turn 1. From there Max controlled the race in an extremely mature manner. We elected to adopt a two-stop strategy to cover the cars behind in what turned out to be a dominant win for Max.
“The frustration for us as a Team is that we didn’t have both drivers on the podium.”
Horner felt Ricciardo’s performance had been deserving of a podium finish only for the Australian to suffer a hydraulic failure with under ten laps remaining, ending his race and ensuring an eighth retirement of 2018.
He apologised to Ricciardo and insisted they will be going all out to give him a good car in his final two races with Red Bull before he moves to the Renault Sport Formula One Team in 2019.
“Daniel lost out at the start after getting a little too much wheel spin, but he then settled into a great race pace,” said Horner. “Seeing the tyres come off Max’s car at his second stop we elected to leave Daniel out on a one-stop strategy, which he was making work in second place and defending brilliantly against Sebastian.
“With nine laps to go Daniel had a sudden hydraulic failure which caused him to retire immediately. It is hugely frustrating for the Team not to have both drivers up on the podium, especially when it’s such a great celebration here.
“Our apologies go to Daniel today and we will fight as hard as we can in the last two races of the season to secure a positive result for him.”
Horner gave praise to Renault for giving Red Bull an engine that was capable of fighting with Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari in Mexico, while he also congratulated Lewis Hamilton on clinching the Drivers’ Championship.
“Thanks to our engine partner, who in challenging conditions provided us with a power unit this weekend that was capable of taking on and beating the best,” said Horner.
“Congratulations also to Lewis on securing his fifth Formula 1 World Championship which is quite an achievement and puts him amongst the sports’ elite.”