Verstappen had been on course for a dominant victory in Baku as he led a Red Bull 1-2 in the closing stages of last weekend’s race. With Hamilton running third behind the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, Verstappen was looking set to open up a 15-point lead over the Mercedes driver in the championship.

But a dramatic tyre failure at high-speed along Baku’s main straight sent Verstappen spearing off into the barriers, ending his chances of moving level with Hamilton on three wins each from the opening six races of 2021    

"Sometimes you can hate this sport," he told Sky Sports F1. “We were fully in control, so I find it very disappointing what happened.

"We lost out on a lot of points, we could have opened up that gap in the championship so to have this happening, especially so close to the end was very frustrating.”

Despite being able to maintain his four-point advantage due to a rare mistake from Hamilton which dropped him out of the points, the Dutchman knows Red Bull has missed a golden opportunity given that it enjoyed a clear advantage over Mercedes in the last two street races.

And Verstappen is wary that Mercedes will once again be the team to beat in the upcoming triple-header of races in France and Austria on what are considered to be more typical F1 circuits.

"We've had these two street circuits and now we go back to normal tracks,” Verstappen explained.

"For sure Mercedes will be very strong on normal tracks, they had some difficulties on the street circuits but as you could see also in Barcelona they are mighty quick.

"We need to keep on our toes and keep pushing hard because they also have a very good car even if sometimes they don't say it. They do.

"It's just a shame. I wanted to open up that gap a little bit more before we go back to those kind of tracks. Although we're still leading the championship which I didn't expect when I hit that wall.”

Verstappen revealed that he only learned of Hamilton’s error while he was visiting the medical centre as a precaution following his hefty shunt.

“I had to go to the medical centre, but I couldn’t of course get there so I had to do a long route,” he said.

“[Then I found out] when I was laying on the bed [in the medical centre]! They were checking my blood pressure and suddenly my phone was vibrating a lot.

“So I said, ‘What’s going on?’ because I could hear the cars of course. And then I was done and I was allowed to leave, and I saw on my phone that Lewis had a problem in Turn 1.”

 

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