Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles has denied Carlos Sainz influenced Lewis Hamilton's retirement at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The two drivers came close to making contact on the opening lap at Yas Marina with the seven-time champion shortcutting the turn six-seven chicane in a bid to avoid a collision.
Unlike last year, where Hamilton was forced to take similar action while battling with Max Verstappen, the stewards instructed that the Mercedes driver dropped back behind his rival due to an advantage being gained by leaving the track.
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But in his avoidance of Sainz's Ferrari, Hamilton bounced across a sausage kerb and put significant vertical loads through his W13.
When the Briton returned to the garage in the closing laps, there were immediate links made to the early incident and his retirement.
Asked if this was the case, Vowles said: “Short answer: No.
"There was surprisingly little damage from that first lap incident.
"The bib, the area under the car did take a massive impact as a result of it and that won't be good. The front wing endplate again had a knock but, generally speaking, it was fine aerodynamically.
"What happened at the end of the race is actually a loss of hydraulic pressure and had no relation or no bearing to that first lap incident.”