Jerome Pummire, Associated Press
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018 10:15 EST
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – The return of Robert Kubica to Formula One is a relief for world champion Lewis Hamilton.
33-year-old Kubica announced on Thursday that he will compete for Williams next year, a remarkable comeback, given that Kubica has almost lost his right hand in a 2011 crash.
"Robert is older than me?" Hamilton joked at a press conference.
When Kubica is older than Hamilton, Hamilton smiled for a month.
"I'm glad to come back, I'll become the second oldest driver, but now I'm going to be the third," Hamilton said. – I can not tell you how happy I am about it.
Following a serious note, the five-time world champion speaks of his high respect for Kubica, an old rival on the way back.
"I was one of the most talented drivers I had the pleasure of racing," Hamilton said. "He has had a very difficult time in the last few years and it's great that he has a chance, I hope he will work hard and return to speed.
With 37-year-old Fernando Alonso, who is retiring from F1 after Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Kubica will be the second-oldest of the network next year after 39-year-old Kimi Raikkonen.
Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion, called Kubica "one of the great talents."
He added caution.
"It remains to be seen what the performance of the car and its performance will be," Alonso said. "But if he is 100%, it will be great to watch."
This culminates in the remarkable comeback of Kubica, rated as one of the fastest in F1 before a terrible rally incident in 2011, leaving him a seven-hour operation on a partially cut right hand.
"Following the season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life," said Kubica. – I can not wait to go back to the race.
Kubica was impressed by the Williams test last year and was a driver of reserves and development this year. One of the key questions about his return was whether Kubica's fragile right hand could handle a heavy car.
These questions are answered when he successfully completes a rigorous rehabilitation program.
"I would like to thank everyone who has helped me during this difficult period of my life over the past few years," Kubica said. "The challenging journey was to go back to Formula One, but what seemed almost impossible was now possible."
Kubica has won 12 Formula 1 podiums in 2006-10, claiming her first pole position and victory in 2008, and was considered to be the brightest talent in the series.
Kubica won the Canadian GP to drive for BMW Sauber after taking second place in GP Monaco. These performances have moved him according to reports near joining Ferrari and a better title.
Now he's just happy to return to Formula One.