Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas was left ruing the error that cost him a position to both Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in Miami.
Bottas qualified ahead of both Mercedes cars for the second race running in Florida as he started the race an impressive fifth, and looked set to consolidate that in the race while holding Hamilton comfortably at bay.
However, Russell had gone long on his strategy having started down in P12, so was wringing out his Hards in anticipation of a Safety Car, which arrived when Pierre Gasly hit Lando Norris.
With both Silver Arrows now right behind him, and the 24-year-old on fresh Mediums, Bottas was facing a challenge to keep them both behind, but he quickly succumbed to the pressure when he out-braked himself into Turn 17 and made contact with the wall, allowing Hamilton and Russell to leapfrog him.
Despite the error, the 32-year-old maintains that the Safety Car would have made the defence of his position difficult anyway.
“We were penalised by the timing of the Safety Car,” he said.
“I was managing the gap over Lewis and P5 would have been possible, but once the race was neutralised, the gap was gone and George was on fresh tyres behind us, so keeping this place would have been difficult.
“I was trying to brake late to defend my position, overshot the braking point slightly and sadly the nature of the track here means that if you go off the line a little and into the dirt, you’re off and you hit the wall.”
Thankfully though, the contact with the wall was relatively light, and the former Mercedes driver was able to make it to the end to finish P7.
“I was lucky nothing broke on the car and I could continue,” he added.
Bottas’ latest points haul leaves him eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, five points behind Lando Norris.