After five seasons as teammates together at Mercedes, Bottas will move to Alfa Romeo next year as the team’s replacement for Kimi Raikkonen, who is retiring from F1 at the end of 2021.

Bottas’ departure paves the way for George Russell to become Hamilton’s new teammate at Mercedes for next season, a move which is expected to be officially announced in the coming days.

Following the news of Bottas’ exit, Hamilton paid tribute to the Finn in a post on social media.

“I’m immensely proud to have worked alongside Valtteri Bottas for the last five years,” Hamilton wrote.

“Together, we’ve been part of a team that has delivered four constructors’ championships, and we’ve motivated one another to keep pushing through all the ups and downs.

“He has been the best teammate I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

The Hamilton-Bottas combination has helped Mercedes win a total of eight world championship titles (four constructors’, four drivers’) to date.

And they could yet make it 10 world championship victories before Bottas leaves, with Mercedes locked in an intense title fight against Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

Hamilton signed off his tribute by praising Bottas’ personality and tipping the 32-year-old to have a “bright future” with Alfa Romeo.

“Your speed and resilience has been impressive but where you truly stand out tome is the human being you are,” Hamilton continued. “You are greater than you know and there’s a bright future ahead for you.

“Thank you Valtteri for all of 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 for the team.”