"I didn't feel good at all".
The devastation marked the eighth time this season the 29-year-old's efforts were dashed by forces out of his control, and while initially sympathising with Ricciardo, Horner went a step further and publicly apologised on behalf of the team. His 2008 championship was with McLaren.
Nor did it have the pantomime of his 2015 title triumph - where Rosberg threw a cap at Hamilton in the Austin cool-down room - or the fightback from last to ninth in Mexico in 2017.
I really do aspire to be like him as a strong black man and as a father and as a human being, doing what he did in the hard times and with the little that he had, I think that's testament to where we are. "I don't have any more words". "I'll always be a fan of (Schumacher)".
The rampant Red Bulls locked out the front row in a thrilling qualifying session, while Lewis Hamilton, who needs to finish only seventh to claim the world championship, qualified third. He had to fight off a strong challenge from Ferrari, which even Hamilton admitted often had the stronger auto.
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Yes, there was a feeling of inevitability about his championship here - the foundations of which were laid by his stunning win in Italy and sizzling pole lap in Singapore a fortnight later - but this is a man now comfortable in his own skin, performing at his very best, and surely destined for even greater success. After a magical lap of his career to grab pole he won in dominant style, controlling from the start, leaving Vettel moaning and now a yawning 40 points adrift for the season run-in. But it was a run of wins over the second half of the season that sent Hamilton to Mexico City all but assured of the championship.
Yet he didn't get the leisurely Sunday drive he would have liked over the 71 laps in the high altitude at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Hamilton's victory parade will now begin in Brazil, a week on Sunday. In between, he complained of vehicle and tire problems, and had to fight to hold on for one of his worst finishes of the season.
"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. I'm not superstitious or any of this bullshit, but. the car's cursed. But sadly that couldn't transpire on Race day.
Watching teammate Max Verstappen cruise away to victory in Mexico, pole sitter Ricciardo looked to have settled for second before his vehicle went up in smoke just 10 laps from the finish. Ricciardo's race ended with late engine failure, the eighth time this season his auto didn't make it to the finish.
The rivalry within the Red Bull ranks has not escaped Vettel's attention either. The straight line power of his Mercedes nosed his vehicle in front until Verstappen cut under him at the first corner.