I watched the WSR3.5 Saturday race at Hungary last weekend, and Mehri was in a class of his own despite being placed in P2 for the race. Whilst everyone was struggling on tyres he was in P5, the P4 then in the last few laps he crept to P3 then, with a last corner mugging on Rowland he finished P2. He has clearly learnt on the Pirellis and translated that to the Michelins. One more lap and he would have had the 19 year old Russian dude that led most of the race and is said to be better than KVJ in commentary.
Stevens was good in early rounds, however he has had race and test experience from last years Caterham, and was a talent at one stage. However Mehri had loads of FP1 outings in same Caterham. Stevens has more distance going against Mehri, yes. However, listening to the Commentary, and also from what I'm reading from some sources, Stevens is great at setting up a car, but development is his issue, Mehri can develop the car better. I am led to believe Mehri is running only a few kilos less than Stevens now as Manor have lightened his chassis a little. Mehdi was 15Kg heavier than Stevens at the start of the season, now its just less than half of that.
I think Mehri, the man who drove Sainz close, and only lost it to Sainz on the last two weekends of the year is a driver to watch. I admire him and the way he has taken the flack, but is now driving his way through his and Manors problems with a limited tech wise car. Yes his deal is only race to race, and Leimer will probably take the seat of Mehri in Spa and Monza. Mehdi will probably not have many more performances in F1 as i think Manor will be taking Vandoorne on in Singapore as Leimers replacement, or doing a FP1 appearance until he gets the GP2 title at Sochi, then Vandoorne will probably take the rest of the GP2 season in a Ricardo HRT style deal.
I fear that a driver like Mehri, and Leimer will eventually head to be WEC bound and be lost to F1 as talents that could-a/should-a drivers, a list that has a long like. Where F1 looses, WEC will gain. Dare i mention Hulkenberg as a prime example for what could-a been in F1 and what is in WEC/LM24 right now?