Leclerc retired from the lead of Sunday’s grand prix when his power unit packed in for the second time in three races, enabling Verstappen to ease to an unchallenged victory. 

The result has given Verstappen a commanding championship lead, with the reigning world champion now 21 points ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and 34 clear of Leclerc.

Having experienced two reliability-induced retirements of his own earlier this season in Bahrain and Australia, Verstappen spared little empathy for his rival. 

“I would always say shit happens,” Verstappen - who lost a certain win in Baku last year when his tyre exploded - responded when asked if he felt for Leclerc. “That’s racing, you know? 

“It happened to me, it happened to many people in the past and unfortunately it’s happening to Charles now. If I would be in the same situation I would also be disappointed, I think that’s very normal, but it’s about how you come out of it. 

“You always look at how to improve things and that’s what we did as well at the beginning of the season. You learn from it, you don’t like it, you are angry, but you turn it around. 

“You always have to stay on it because something else might happen and you have to prevent these issues from happening.” 

Verstappen says Red Bull have room to improve 

Red Bull once again appeared to have the quickest race car in Baku as Verstappen registered his fifth win from eight races this season. 

That is despite Verstappen starting from pole position only once this year. In contrast, Leclerc has six poles, though the Ferrari driver has only been able to convert two of them into victory. 

While Verstappen is pleased with Red Bull’s performance on Sundays, the Dutchman admitted his team has work to do to reduce their current one-lap deficit to Ferrari in qualifying. 

“I think everything each weekend is a bit different, but we know with the car performance on Saturday we are not as quick as Ferrari for whatever reason,” he explained. 

"Maybe it helps us on a race day, but I also want a bit more performance from myself on a Saturday just from the feeling of the car as well. 

“On a Sunday it always feels a bit better, but of course there is enough work to do to try to improve the car, but I guess everyone has the same thing. 

“It was a very good day for us, it is a very young and new car but we will always look to improve. At the moment it looks like Saturdays have the biggest room for improvement.”