Verstappen was on course to claim his third win of the season and extend his lead over main title rival Lewis Hamilton in Baku before he suffered a dramatic tyre failure while leading with five laps to go. 

But when Hamilton failed to capitalise on Verstappen’s retirement after making an uncharacteristic error, it was the Dutchman’s Red Bull teammate Perez who picked up the pieces to score his first win for the team. 

Baku marked the first occasion this season that Perez had been able to fight at the very front of the grid, having run in a solid second place after leapfrogging Hamilton in the pits. 

With both Mercedes drivers finishing out of the points, the result ensured Verstappen maintained his four-point advantage at the top of the drivers’ championship, while Red Bull extended its lead over Mercedes to 26 points. 

And Verstappen feels that Red Bull will be well-placed to fight for both world championships if Perez can regularly find himself in the fight for the podium positions and help put Mercedes under pressure. 

“It’s great to have two cars up at the front fighting for the championship and also scoring the points,” Verstappen said. “Baku was a great example of that and how it should be done. 

“It’s great that Checo was able to make the gap to Mercedes bigger in the constructor’s championship and that he’s now third in the driver’s championship.”

Verstappen lamented what he felt was a missed opportunity to open the gap to Hamilton in the championship, with the Red Bull driver wary that upcoming tracks in France and Austria will likely play to the strengths of Mercedes’ car after its street circuit struggles in Monaco and Baku. 

“I’m feeling good but I'm sure that Mercedes will be very strong on the 'normal' tracks again, so we have to keep pushing and keep improving right to the very end because it’s never enough,” he added. 

"So far the season has been pretty good to us but we need to remember that there are still a lot of races ahead of us. 

"I am happy with the race results that we have had so far and that we are leading the championship, but we also have to be there leading it in Abu Dhabi, that’s all that matters.”