Kubica one of Hamilton's 'most talented' rivals

Robert Kubica is one of the most talented drivers Lewis Hamilton has competed against and the reigning Formula One champion hopes to still see him on the grid next season.

Veteran driver Kubica on Thursday announced his decision to leave Williams at the end of the year, revealing his exit at a news conference ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Pole returned to F1® racing this season for the first time since 2010, having sustained life-altering injuries, most notably to his right arm, in a rally crash in February 2011.

Hamilton was in awe of Kubica's determination to make a comeback and believes he has the ability to warrant a seat at another team, despite picking up just one point in a dismal campaign for Williams.

"We started racing in go karts together in 1997, I think. For me, Robert is one of the most talented drivers I've competed against. I already saw the talent that he had and it's been a long time and it's still there," said Hamilton.

"I think what's really remarkable is the strength and determination he's shown, particularly through the incident he had. Not a lot of people can come from those circumstances and come back and make it back into the sport and deliver against others who don't have the same situation he's been in.

"It's been great to have him back. It's definitely not the same scenario as when he was 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 part of the show, so I hope he stays.

"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 on Thursday was confirmed to again be racing with Haas next season, rued not being able to team up with Kubica earlier in his career.

"I think he's an inspiration for anyone that had a bad experience," said Grosjean.

"The first time I spoke to him was in 2009 and we were supposed to be team-mates [at Renault] in 2010 and I was looking forward to it but it didn't happen, then I followed him as the third driver in Lotus when he had his accident.

"The way he came back, in motorsport there is other examples but also in life generally, to come back to the highest level and to have fought the way he fought back is very impressive."

Kubica intends to explore his options for 2020 and said he "will be very surprised" if he does not continue racing.

Follow the Action