Valtteri Bottas says a moment of distraction in Sunday's Miami GP led to him braking "a fraction too late" and veering off course which led to him losing P5 to both Mercedes cars.
Bottas had qualified a strong fifth and was holding the position in the closing stages of the race just after the end of the Safety Car period when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, the latter on fresher tyres, crept closer to the Alfa Romeo driver.
But with ten laps to go, as he monitored his lead over the battling Mercedes duo, the Finn overshot his braking at Turn 17, put a wheel outside the racing line and understeered off course.
"I was kind of following them in the mirrors as they were getting pretty close, [whether] I needed to close the door or something.
"I braked a fraction too late, mixed the apex in the corner a tiny bit, then I got to the dirty tarmac and felt awkward as I was going so slowly, understeering, hit the wall, luckily didn’t break anything or get a puncture."
By the time Bottas had collected himself, his Mercedes rivals had left him in the dust in seventh position.
The Alfa charger lamented the small mistake that potentially deprived him of a second consecutive top-five finish, but also felt encouraged by his car's pace.
"I think today, without the Safety Car, P5 should have been possible. So, we're strong.
"We bring home some good points which will be super important for the championship, and we showed we can fight on a par with everyone in the midfield.
"It’s all very close and the way we keep developing will be important to stay ahead in this fight."