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Lewis Hamilton: Robert Kubica would have been world champion without injury

HUNGARORING, Hungary -- Lewis Hamilton hopes Robert Kubica's upcoming Formula One test leads to a comeback as he believes his former rival is one of the sport's lost world champions.

Kubica has emerged as a serious contender for a 2018 seat following two private tests for his private team is modified old cars, though his appearance at the second day of F1 testing at the Hungaroring on Wednesday is seen as proof Renault is genuinely considering giving him an opportunity to race full-time. The Polish driver has not been in F1 since nearly losing his arm in a huge rally crash on the eve of the 2011 season and his return to the cockpit has sparked huge intrigue and excitement.

Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton. Moy/Sutton
Hamilton and Kubica, both 32, crossed paths frequently in their junior careers. Kubica has been rated the best driver of his generation by Fernando Alonso and Hamilton agrees he could have had an illustrious career to this point.

"Robert's one of the quickest drivers I have raced against," Hamilton said. "He's one of the best drivers I have driven against. If he was still racing today he would be up there in contention for the world title if not would have one. Just raw, natural talent which in the sport, I think it's a shame we do not have with us.

"Not a lot of great, great drivers come through. It filters, it filters down you have some which are much better than the rest but still, are not the greatest, but then you have real special drivers like him."

Wednesday's test will go a long way to determining whether Kubica has the fitness to make a comeback, as his right arm still carries the scars of his accident and the subsequent surgeries which have helped him make the progress he has to this point.

Hamilton added: "I am really happy he's doing the test and I will pay a keen eye to see how he's doing, how his tests are going and whether he's not going to be racing. I think it'd be great if he's able too, if he can physically."

Some reports have suggested Kubica could return as early as the Belgian Grand Prix if his test is successful, though it is unlikely Renault would buy Jolyon Palmer out of his contract before the end of the season. Taking a seat for 2018 seems more likely as it would allow more time for Kubica to test through this year, though Renault has also been linked to the likes of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz.

Author: Nate Saunders
Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/20217656/lewis-hamilton-says-robert-kubica-f1-champion-injury

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