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Mercedes: 'Anyone with an ounce of intelligence' knows we aren't sabotaging Lewis Hamilton

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe says "anyone with an ounce of intelligence" will know sabotage was not the reason for Lewis Hamilton's engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Mercedes has revealed a big-end bearing failed on Hamilton's engine when it burst into flames while he led the Malaysian Grand Prix, leaving him 23 points behind teammate Nico Rosberg in the championship. The failure -- and Hamilton's initial quotes to media -- triggered conspiracy theories online, something Mercedes has already had to refute this year after he suffered engine trouble during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

The conspiracy theories continued despite the fact Hamilton clarified he had been referring to God when he said "somebody doesn't want me to win".

When asked about the insinuation in Friday's press conference, Lowe responded: "I can't agree with you that the driver hinted that there was sabotage. Lewis has been very clear, certainly with us, that that's out of the question.

"Anyone with an ounce of intelligence analysing this situation would realise the prospect of us designing a system that would cause a big-end bearing to fail at that precise point in a race...If we were that good we would win everything and control everything at every point. We've had other failures in the year which were unfortunate.

"If we were good enough to arrange such sabotage we wouldn't have any failures. I think it's a very, very tough business, Formula One, the engineering is operating right at the boundary of performance and therefore things do go wrong. The complexity is incredible and so to engineer something to happen on purpose on a car...

"It's similar to when people say to us 'you favour one driver over another', and the idea we might give better equipment to one driver over another. If we've invented something that makes our car quicker of course we want it in both cars because we want to win the race. So we never hold back or would even contemplate it, even if we could engineer it, which we couldn't, so I think anyone intelligent can work all of that out."

Lowe admits Hamilton's bad luck is hard to understand statistically and says he is still struggling to comprehend how the world champion had back-to-back qualifying failures in China and Russia this year.

"I think the thing you've got to bear in mind is that we're all very rational people, certainly in the engineering area. We all know that you can throw three double-sixes in a row, that is possible statistically. But yet when you see it done, emotionally you feel 'how did that happen?' We have got a little bit of that scenario with Lewis.

"We have eight power units out there running around and with the exception of one failure they have all fallen to Lewis this year, on his power unit, and that's something that none of us can understand how things can turn out that way. But it is just the way the dice has been thrown, things do go wrong, we do understand and it just turns out by pure coincidence that has occurred repeatedly on Lewis' car.

"We're gutted about it and we just wish luck wouldn't fall that way, and understandable that Lewis was - as we all were feeling after that blow-up - [thinking] 'how can that have happened again?' Personally I was only just getting over the idea of the consecutive failures he had in qualifying earlier in the year where already you felt the statistics had fallen very, very unfairly.

"I was very happy for Lewis that he was able to recover his points back up to a level of competition with Nico... So it was a real blow, but we very quickly decided to become rational and accept these things happen, then you move on and look to the future."