For the second consecutive race weekend, Alfa Romeo got themselves right in the mix as best of the rest behind Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari with Valtteri Bottas running in P5 for most of the Grand Prix after qualifying in that position.
In the first stint, Hamilton closed the gap on the Finn from 4s after overtaking Gasly to just under 2s. However, Bottas then picked up his pace and pulled away from his former teammate, extending the gap to 6.9s before Hamilton boxed.
Xevi Pujolar explained why this was the case when asked about it by MotorLat.
“For sure we wanted to extend [on the mediums], so initially we were just looking after the tyres and also seeing what people are doing behind, trying to control a bit what is going on behind and see how much we can extend.
“At one point we start to say to Valtteri that it’s okay to start to push a bit more. We were quite comfortable with the tyres at this point and when we start to push, then it seems like Hamilton started to struggle more on his side.
“I think he was pushing a bit more than us from the beginning.”
“I think… yes,” said Pujolar when asked if he thought they had the third fastest car in the race.
Unfortunately for Bottas and Alfa, a Safety Car because of the accident between Norris and Gasly opened the door for Hamilton and Russell to attack the Finn.
A mistake from Bottas at turn 17 allowed both of them through as he dropped to 7th. It was ultimately where he finished as Russell and Hamilton gapped the Finn by a few seconds in the end.
Alfa's head of trackside engineering believes they need to work on the opening laps in a stint after difficulties following the restart in Miami while not hurting their overall pace throughout it.
“Without the Safety Car, we were in a reasonably comfortable position there, because when we up to speed, the pace was good,” the Spaniard continued.
"We couldn’t go anywhere because Russell was there waiting for that Safety Car that then came for him.
“After the Safety Car, for some reason, we were struggling a bit more at the restart, [while] they seemed to struggle more in the middle to the end of the stints.
“We needed a few more laps to get up to speed… this is maybe a point we’ll try to see what we can do in the future without affecting our consistency that we have got.
“But without the Safety Car, we were ahead of the two Mercedes’s.”