Red Bull appeared the fastest team heading into qualifying but Verstappen had to settle for third place on the Baku grid - behind main championship rival Lewis Hamilton - after a red flag disrupted the final runs of Q3.

For the second race in a row, Verstappen had been improving on his final timed lap of qualifying but had to abort his lap when Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz crashed out in the closing moments of Q3.

It was the fourth red flag during an incident-packed qualifying session and enabled Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to claim a second consecutive surprise pole.

“It was just a stupid qualifying to be honest,” said Verstappen.

“Anyway, it is what it is. We’re still P3, have a good car and it was a good recovery from FP3.

“Everything was working out fine and then all this shit is all the time happening, I don’t care - it’s a street circuit, so these things can happen.

“Our car is strong so I just hope that tomorrow in the race we can look after our tyres and score good points.”

After his maiden Monaco Grand Prix victory last time out, Verstappen holds a four-point advantage over Hamilton coming into this weekend’s Baku round.

Despite his qualifying frustrations, the Dutchman remains confident about his chances of challenging for a third victory of the 2021 season.

“Of course, I would have liked to have been a bit further ahead but it’s still all to play for,” he explained.

“As you can see in qualifying, a lot of things are happening. Maybe in the race these things can happen again.

“Let’s hope for a clean start and we’ll see from there.”