Lewis Hamilton has praised outgoing Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as a “standout human being” and complimented the Finn as “greater than you know.”
Hamilton and Bottas have been Mercedes team-mates since 2017 but on Monday it was formally announced that the nine-time race winner will be joining Alfa Romeo from 2022.
It paves the way for George Russell to join Hamilton at Mercedes.
Mercedes has maintained its streak of Constructors’ titles since Bottas joined in 2017 while Hamilton has won all four Drivers’ championships available during that period.
They have finished 1-2 together on 21 occasions and have formed once of the longest team-mate partnerships in Formula 1 history.
“I’m immensely proud to have worked alongside Valtteri for the last five years,” said Hamilton.
“Together we’ve been part of a team that has delivered four Constructors’ Championships, and we’ve motivated one another to keep pushing through the ups and downs.
“He has been the best teammate I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
“Your speed and resilience has been impressive but where you truly stand out to me is the human being you are and gentleman. You are greater than you know and I know there’s a bright future ahead for you.
“Thank you Valtteri for all your support and amazing contributions to this team. You will be missed. I wish you all the best for your future endeavours.
“Let’s finish off strong and get that eighth [title] for the team.”
Mercedes leads this year’s Constructors’ Championship by 12 points.