Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to Robert Kubica following the Polish driver’s decision to leave Williams at the end of 2019 and believes he is still “one of the most talented drivers that I have competed against”.

Ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix the 34-year-old Pole announced he will depart the British squad at the conclusion of this season, bringing an end to his remarkable F1 comeback in a full-time race seat after just one year.

The former F1 Grand Prix winner endured an eight-year hiatus due to life-threatening injuries he sustained in a rallying accident in 2011.

Having competed against Kubica during both his stints in F1, Hamilton says he’s disappointed to see the Pole leave the sport having rated him as one of the best drivers he has competed against during his career.

“I have known Robert probably the longest, we started racing in go karts in 1997? 1998? For me, Robert is one of the most talent drivers that I have competed against,” Hamilton said. “From the beginning I saw the talent that he had and naturally when you get to Formula 1 it has been a long time. He is quite old now! But it is still there.

“What is really remarkable is his strength and determination he has shown, particularly through the incident that 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 that he has been in.

“I think it has been great to have him back and it is not the same scenario that he had before when he was in a more competitive team back in the day, but I think he has done great this year.”

Kubica has hinted he will continue racing next year in a situation that “will bring me back some joy in racing” after going through a tough F1 campaign in an uncompetitive Williams.

“I always said that I took a lot energy, a lot of time for me to recover and come back to the sport and join back in F1, but I would like to stay,” Kubica explained.

“I said this year would be the goal to remain in F1. Of course my answer would be yes but not for every cost. I think I have to first of all what will bring me back a bit of joy in racing, of course this season has been very tough from a performance point of view but it has also been very demanding being back in F1 after a long time, it’s not easy.

“Especially when we are in the difficult situation we are in but nevertheless I have to thank the team for the opportunity and we will see what the future will bring.”