Christian Horner described Red Bull’s Mexican Grand Prix win as “bittersweet” after losing Daniel Ricciardo to a late hydraulic problem.
Max Verstappen grabbed the lead of the race at the start, having battled with Lewis Hamilton on the run to Turn 1, in the wake of pole sitter Ricciardo bogging down.
Verstappen went on to dominate for the second successive year in Mexico while Ricciardo moved into second place by running a one-stop strategy.
Ricciardo came under pressure from Sebastian Vettel and was striving to keep the Ferrari driver at bay when his RB14 slowed and ultimately stopped due to a suspected hydraulic failure.
It marked Ricciardo’s second race-ending reliability issue in as many weeks, in a season in which he has failed to reach the chequered flag on eight occasions.
Ricciardo commented afterwards that he saw “no point” in turning up to the remaining two races as his RB14 is “cursed”, and quipped he’d “let Gasly drive it. I’m done with it.”
Horner sympathised with Ricciardo’s plight and is hopeful that the Australian’s fortunes can turn around in the last two events before he departs for Renault.
“He’s had an immensely frustrating afternoon,” said Horner.
“You can understand his emotions are running incredibly high.
“It’s gutting not just for him but for the whole team because we were looking at potentially a 1-2 finish which has enormous value to us.
“So it feels a bittersweet victory in that it is fantastic for Max to have driven an outstanding race – absolutely outstanding race – but I’m pretty confident that Daniel would have been able to hold off Sebastian over those remaining laps.
“You can understand his frustration and hope that this dark cloud that is following him around lifts for the final two races.”
Red Bull has had a tumultuous relationship with outgoing power unit partner Renault through Formula 1’s hybrid era, but Horner complemented the manufacturer in the wake of Verstappen’s success.
“Credit where credit is due, Renault have provided us with an engine this weekend in these conditions that is competitive with our opponents,” he said.
“That has enabled us to go head to head, lock out the front row, pole position, second position, front row of the grid, and win the grand prix in a dominant fashion.
“Theoretically we should have had a 1-2.
“The altitude of this circuit obviously does constrain some of our rivals, and it puts Renault into a window where they are competitive.
“Which is why we put an awful lot of focus into this race, taking the penalties to get another B spec into the pool to have for this weekend.”