"We pushed the benchmark and we push the needle and we try to be better as a group every single day and every single year", added team boss Toto Wolff.
The result will be of particular concern to Ferrari after the Italians pegged this race as a critical indicator of the health of its championship aspirations. On the other side Charles was fighting for third place with Verstappen because he was on a different strategy with the hard tyres, a single pit stop, so it was important for him not to lose any lap time at that stage of the race.
Get the latest sports news updates. "If we continue to have a vehicle that is performing on that level I think there is no reason to go and we would really love him to stay", said Wolff. But, where we are now, it can not be our objective. Therefore, Ferrari chose to let Charles Leclerc past the German to try and catch up with the leaders.
Later in the race the same issue occurred, only in reverse, as once again the two drivers squabbled unnecessarily while the front running cars disappeared further up the road.
He was forced to set both his laps on one set of tyres because of the lost time, leaving him 1.1 seconds off the pace and fifth behind Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen.
Other than one freaky incident, Renault's Daniel Ricciardo reversing into Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat to retire both cars after overshooting Turn 3, the race around Baku's attractive tight streets and castle walls passed by without incident. Grosjean rounded off the top 10. We were just discussing improvements we could make and talking about how we could improve the auto. Carlos Sainz was the best placed McLaren in eighth place.