Reigning F1 world champion Verstappen saw his championship lead get whittled down to just six points after he finished second to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in Baku on Sunday. 

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Verstappen had led early on after passing polesitter Charles Leclerc but was called into the pits by Red Bull shortly after AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries hit the wall. 

Fellow Dutchman de Vries suffered race-ending damage as was left stranded in the run-off area, prompting Race Control to throw a full Safety Car just as Verstappen was leaving the pits. 

Verstappen was jumped by Perez and Leclerc who both pitted under the Safety Car. 

"I saw that there was a car stopped, I thought he maybe just locked up," Verstappen said.

"In hindsight, I mean, I can't see that, but it's something to review. I mean, clearly, you could see there was one wheel damaged and it looked like he was not going to drive that anyway back to the pits, even if he would've reversed.

"So something to look at, because of course that then did hurt my race after that.

"You see it on the screen, but you cannot look into detail if the wheel is connected to the car properly. I mean, of course the team has a bit more overview to that. But like I said, you know, we'll look into that if there was anything we could have done different.

"I also don't know when the exact call came to pit, so it's a bit difficult to say at the moment.”

Red Bull 'didn't expect Safety Car'

Explaining the thought process behind Red Bull’s decision, team principal Christian Horner admitted his side would have kept Verstappen out for another lap with the benefit of hindsight. 

“Unfortunate thing was the Safety Car, 20/20 hindsight you’d have left them another lap,” he said. 

“At the time from what we could see we decided to pit Max, who was starting to struggle a little bit with the rear of his car and Checo was obviously right up behind him.

“So we decided from a strategy point of view it was the optimum time to take the stop.

“Then De Vries, from the glimpse that we got, all four wheels are on the car, he hadn’t hit the barrier and the engine was running. It looked like he’d reverse and carry on.

“Never expected that to go to a Safety Car. With 20/20 vision we’d have done one more lap and gone from there.

“You just don’t know at that point if Charles is going to pit then suddenly he jumps both of them.

“The problem is we didn’t have the visibility of De Vries, [we got a] quick shot of him, black set of lines made it looked like he’d outbraked himself and gone straight on and hadn’t hit the barrier.

“So usually if you see a car in the barriers it’s a Safety Car but there was no sign of him having hit the barrier so… yeah, it was only subsequently on the replays that you saw the track rod was broken [from an earlier contact].”

'Max's misfortune was Checo's good fortune' 

Following the chequered flag, Horner told Verstappen over team radio: “Well done Max. Checo got a little lucky with the Safety Car but it’s a long season and very good points today. Great team result.” 

Speaking later to Sky Sports, Horner hailed Perez’s performance across the weekend as “sensational”. 

“He [Perez] has had a sensational weekend," Horner said. 

"He has always been amazing at this track, I don't know what it is about Azerbaijan.

"He absolutely excels here and he got a little lucky with a Safety Car today but he converted that and pulled a gap and had the pace. 

"He really controlled the race so a phenomenal drive by him all weekend.

"We had already committed to the stop [for Verstappen]….  but sometimes things like that don't go your way.

"His misfortune was Checo's good fortune."