Hamilton and Alonso thrilled to see Kubica return

Lewis Hamilton is delighted to see former karting rival Robert Kubica handed a Formula One return for 2019, especially because the Pole is older than the world champion.

Williams confirmed Kubica would make his long-awaited return to the sport in 2019 after nine years away, his career having been interrupted by life-altering injuries suffered in a rally crash.

Having tested for the British team ahead of the 2018 season, Kubica was overlooked as Williams plumped for Sergey Sirotkin, but he will get his chance next year alongside rookie George Russell.

And Hamilton is looking forward to racing his old rival again, the pair having gone head-to-head earlier in their careers, but there is another reason why he will welcome back 33-year-old Kubica.

"I am so happy he's coming back," Hamilton told a media conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Fernando [Alonso] is leaving and I was going to be the second oldest driver but now I can remain the third. I can't tell you how happy I am about that!"

He added: "I raced him from karting days so I have known him for a long, long time. He was always one of the most talented drivers that I have had the pleasure of racing.

"He's had a really difficult time for the last who knows how many years now and it's just great to see that he's got the opportunity back and I hope he works hard on his strength and getting his mind back into gear like he was in the past.

"I think it's exciting for the sport to see him back in action."

Alonso was also pleased to see Williams' announcement, and he will be glued to his television to see how Kubica performs.

The veteran Spaniard, who will not race in F1 next year, said: "It remains to be seen what will be the performance of the car and his own performance because we only saw a couple of tests, but if he is 100 per cent he will be amazing to watch."

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