Lewis Hamilton applauds Robert Kubica's 'strength and determination'
With the news that Robert Kubica will be leaving Williams at the end of the season and, with no available seats elsewhere, it would therefore seem his return to Formula 1 was short-lived, but Lewis Hamilton says the Polish driver's "strength and determination" is "remarkable".
Kubica returned to F1 with Williams this year having spent eight years away from the sport following his rally accident, which left him with severe injuries to his arm and unable to race at the same level. However the 34-year-old never gave up on his dream of returning to the sport he loves and that became a reality in 2019.
Whilst it hasn't worked out the way he'd liked, with Williams experiencing its own troubles, Hamilton says Kubica must be applauded and admired for what he's achieved given his circumstances.
"I’ve known Robert probably the longest; we started racing together in go-karts, like 1997? 1998. For me, Robert’s one of the most talented drivers I’ve competed against. As I say, from that beginning I already saw the talent that he had, and when he got to Formula 1," said the Mercedes driver in response to the news Kubica won't be on the 2020 grid.
"What’s remarkable is the strength and determination he’s shown. Particularly through the incident he had," added Hamilton. "Not a lot of people can come through those circumstances and come back, make it back into the sport and deliver against others who don’t have the same situation that he’s been in.
"I think it’s been great to have him back. It’s definitely not the same scenario as when he was obviously in a more competitive team back in the day – but I think he’s done great this year. We need the best talent in the sport and we obviously need them to be as high up as possible creating a part of the show.
"I understand his position and I don’t know what’s given him the reason to make the decision but I hope there’s a position for him next year."
Romain Grosjean, who was set to race for Renault in 2010 but narrowly missed out to Vitaly Petrov, described Kubica's achievement as "very impressive".
"He’s an inspiration for anyone that had a bad experience," said the Frenchman. "First time I spoke to Robert was 2009 in Abu Dhabi, I think. We were supposed to be team-mates in 2010. I was very, very much looking forward to it. It didn't happen.
"Then obviously I followed Robert as the third, or reserve driver at Lotus when he had his accident and then the way he came back.
"In motorsport he is an example, but also in life generally, to come back to the highest level and, as you say, fight the way he fought back is very impressive."