Max Verstappen has shared some words of high praise for Pierre Gasly amid the Frenchman's departure from the Red Bull stable.
Gasly is set to join Alpine in 2023 following several years at AlphaTauri, as well as a brief stint as Verstappen's teammate at the main Red Bull team in 2019.
Before he leaves the outfit, Gasly joined Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda at the Honda Racing Thanks Day in Japan, where all of the drivers paid tribute to the 26-year-old.
This included a speech by Verstappen, who hailed Gasly as an "amazing driver".
Verstappen shares praise for Gasly
"Pierre, we go way back," Verstappen told Gasly in front of fans at the Motegi circuit.
"We already started racing against each other early on in go-karting, and then of course we both became part of the Red Bull family. We became teammates as well in Formula 1, and I know you're incredibly talented.
"You work really hard for everything, to achieve everything you have done already so far. You've been a real team leader as well at AlphaTauri, which I have a lot of respect for, but I also understand your new challenge.
"It's been great to have you as a part of the whole family, because it's two teams but it's one big family. But I'm also really excited for you, for the future, and especially the coming years.
"Like you said before, maybe our paths will cross again. We are all very young still – Checo's a little bit older!
"You're an amazing driver, and I really wish you all the best, but we'll still see each other around anyway.
"[I] just wanted to say that to you, and I really hope that next year already will be a great start for you in your new chapter."
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Gasly left 'emotional' at AlphaTauri exit
As well as receiving tributes from his fellow F1 drivers, Gasly spoke of how spending his last day as an AlphaTauri driver at the Honda event had been "emotional".
"It was a really special day, my last day as a Honda and AlphaTauri driver and what a way to celebrate it," he explained.
"It was very emotional because today we drove with the AlphaTauri AT01, the one I won [with] in Monza in 2020, and also here in Motegi where I had my first victory in Super Formula for Honda.
"It's probably the best way to end this chapter."
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