Masi agreed, and the race was stopped with three laps remaining. And there would be a restart.
With the whole field on softs – fresh ones for Vettel who was now third on the grid alongside Gasly and behind Hamilton and Perez – a two-lap sprint race was to decide what the previous 49 laps had set up.
“We’ve got to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Hamilton told his team before leaving the pit lane. “Got to be measured, how risky we go.”
“Copy Lewis,” race engineer Pete Bonington replied, before Toto Wolff added: “Absolutely agree Lewis.”
George Russell crawled into the pits with a gearbox issue as the grid formed up but the lights came on regardless, and when they went out it was Hamilton who got the better getaway and had a clear lead into Turn One. Then it looked like his radio message came back to bite him as he locked up and sailed straight on into the run-off area.
“I hit some sort of switch that caused only the front brakes to work,” Hamilton explained afterwards. “There’s a button we have to help keep the front brakes up [to temperature] and, as Perez pulled over, I reacted and accidentally [turned] on the switch. It just locked up and I went straight on.”
From there, Perez appeared untroubled for the two laps that remained, even if Vettel had fresh tyres behind him. And then he stopped his car shortly after crossing the finish line and it became clear that he too had nearly seen 25 points disappear.
“I am so, so happy for today,” Perez said. “The race, normally Baku is pretty crazy. First of all, I have to say I am very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race and he really deserved the win. It would have been incredible to get that 1-2 for the team but at the end, it is a fantastic day for us.
“We were close to retiring the car but luckily we managed to finish the race. It was quite difficult all the way until the end.”
It transpired a hydraulics issue had been the cause for concern, but the stoppage was precautionary. It ensured Perez a first win in just his sixth race at Red Bull, and the man who replaced him at his former team scored a first Aston Martin podium in history.
“It means a great deal, obviously,” Vettel said. “It was a tough start for us, but it was a great race, we had good pace and that was the key. I had a good start picked up positions straight away, looked after my tyres and as soon as everyone went into the pit I had really good pace to overcut, I think Yuki [Tsunoda], at least.
“And then the restart worked brilliantly for me, got another two positions there. Let’s be honest, we obviously had fresher tyres that helped with warming up and switch on, so a great day and I’m over the moon.