Through the opening corners, the duo went wheel to wheel, with Russell holding the inside line on each occasion.
The duo came together at Turn 2, in particular, resulting in Verstappen taking damage to his left sidepod, while he also brushed a wall at Turn 3 with his right-rear wheel.
Following the 17-lap event at the Baku Street Circuit, Verstappen confronted Russell in parc fermé, making his feelings plain.
“When he came over to me, I thought he was coming to say ‘good battle, nice fight',” said Russell.
“I was very surprised at how angry he was.
“From my side, his position was already lost.
“Ever since eight years old in go-karting, if you are on the inside at the apex of a corner, then it's your corner.
“If a driver is trying to wrest a position on the outside they are taking a huge risk.
“On Lap 1, on a street circuit, I was really quite shocked that he was trying to hold the position.
Expanding on what Verstappen said to him, Russell added: “There were a lot of fucks. What the fuck. I didn't really hear much more than that.
“He's leading the championship so it was a little bit surprising. From my side, I've got less to lose, so I went for it. It's part of racing.”
Russell claimed the place as the pair entered Turn 3 on the opening lap.
Verstappen pulled to the inside at Turn 1 to reclaim the place, remaining there until the chequered flag while Russell followed him home on fourth.