But Verstappen crashed during the closing stages of the final session and an oil leak in the gearbox rendered repairs prior to Q1 impossible, and he missed qualifying.
Verstappen rose from the rear of the 20-car grid to place ninth, but Horner reckons the sight of a victorious Ricciardo will resonate with the Dutch youngster.
“Ninth was a good drive from him and he needs to go away from this race and reflect on what should have been and apply that for the future,” said Horner
“I think he has a very good teacher in the car next door to him. Max has an abundance of talent and had some harsh lessons this year and I think a modified approach will benefit him.
“What frustrates him is that he’s working harder than ever, feels fitter than ever and it feels like he’s just trying a bit too hard at the moment.
“Of course, when you get into a spiral and try harder I think you just need to hit the reset button.”
Verstappen was thrust into Formula 1 aged only 17 in 2015, and with just one year under his belt in junior formula – in Formula 3.
Horner reckons Verstappen’s rapid ascent, in which he skipped the introductory single-seater divisions and F1’s main feeder series F2 (then GP2) means the usual mistakes youngsters make are magnified.
“Look Max arrived in F1 very quickly so he is doing his learning in a very public arena and is in a front running car very quickly,” said Horner.
“Most guys would have gone through some of this in the lower formulas that you wouldn’t have even seen, whereas he is having to deal with it in a very public arena.
“I’m sure he will emerge from it on the other side.”
Verstappen’s 2018 season
Verstappen has had a scrappy opening third to his 2018 campaign, restricting him to just 35 points, half that of Ricciardo and already with his title prospects slim-to-none.
In Australia Verstappen was passed by Kevin Magnussen at Turn 1 and spun through the same corner a few laps later in pursuit of the Haas driver, trailing home sixth.
Red Bull displayed strong pace in Bahrain but Verstappen crashed out in Q1, with a story emanating that a power surge was the culprit, and a blinding first lap was squandered when he clashed with Lewis Hamilton, the contact causing terminal damage to his RB14.
Red Bull lacked the ultimate speed in China but a strategic opportunity presented itself to both Verstappen and Ricciardo, but the youngster went wide while trying to boldly pass Hamilton and later clattered into Sebastian Vettel, taking only fifth while Ricciardo won.
The two Red Bull drivers battled hard in Azerbaijan and came together at Turn 1 in a dramatic accident that eliminated both; neither were deemed wholly responsible by stewards, though the inference aimed at Verstappen meant it was not a 50-50 situation.
Verstappen sagely took a deserved podium finish in Spain – though even that result came with minor drama, when he clipped Williams’ Lance Stroll at the post-VSC restart, causing front-wing endplate damage.
Source: Motorsport Week