Pascal Wehrlein says his former Manor teammate Rio Haryanto was underrated during his half season in F1.
Haryanto drove for Manor at the first 12 rounds of 2016, but after struggling to find the funding to keep his seat for the second half of the year, Manor struck a deal with engine supplier Mercedes to place Esteban Ocon at the team. On his F1 debut, Ocon qualified 18th and finished the race 16th, but was 0.5s slower than Wehrlein in Q1. Wehrlein said he was happy to beat his new teammate by such a margin in qualifying and believes it is proof that Haryanto was underrated.
"[Ocon] is a very highly-rated driver and to beat him by half a second in qualifying was very good and I'm happy with that," Wehrlein said. "Maybe now you can see that Rio was actually very good and performing really well and I feel like [in qualifying at Spa] he could have done the same.
"I think everyone underrated him or underestimated what he could do. I feel a bit sad for that because, actually, he was a good team-mate and he did a good job."
Haryanto remains at Manor as a reserve driver alongside Alexander Rossi, but is unlikely to return to the grid this year.