Verstappen crashed out spectacularly on Lap 47 when his left-rear tyre failed.
The Dutchman had been on for a comfortable win in Baku, with Red Bull set to take its first 1-2 since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix.
“I didn’t feel anything up until the moment that I suddenly went to the right,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 after the race. “The tyre just blew off the rim. It’s not a nice impact to have. It’s quite a dangerous place to have a tyre blow out at that speed. But all fine with me, the car not so much.
“Up until then, we had a very strong race. I was basically matching the lap times that I had to do behind. We were fully in control. Of course it’s very disappointing what happened. We lost out on a lot of points, we could have opened up that gap in the championship as well, so to have this happening, especially so close to the end, is very frustrating.”
Verstappen’s unfortunate retirement allowed Sergio Perez to take the lead of the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The Mexican maintained first after the restart as Hamilton ran wide at Turn 1, having locked up.
Despite failing to finish in Baku, Verstappen remains four points ahead in the drivers’ championship.
“Checo had a great day, he had a good start,” Verstappen added. “He was behind me and then both of us, we got through the guys we had to pass. We were just doing the lap times we had to do, upfront, because the car was really good today.
“We just have to keep on pushing. It’s a shame as I wanted to open up the gap a little bit more because we go back to those kinds of tracks. It is what it is. Still leading the championship which I didn’t expect when I hit the wall.”