Valencia: Sebastian Vettel could go and lie on a tropical beach from now to the end of August then return rested, tanned and still in the lead of the Formula One world championship.
Even if the Red Bull driver fails to score a point in the next three races, his European Grand Prix victory in Valencia on Sunday meant he is sure to be leading the standings at least until the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Aug. 28.
The world champion's sixth win in eight races left him with a 77 point lead over McLaren's Jenson Button and his own team mate Mark Webber with 11 rounds remaining.
That posed an immediate mathematical challenge for those in the paddock gloomily calculating when the 23-year-old German might mathematically clinch his second successive title at the current rate of progress.
Singapore at the end of September, with five races to spare, looks within the realms of possibility.
Vettel was not about to do any sums himself, however.
"I wasn't good in maths. I liked maths but...no, it's good to know that obviously we are in the lead, by how many points I don't really care," he said at the post-race news conference.
"People tell me often enough so I don't need to check.
"To be honest, I don't look at the scoreboard much," he continued.
"I think you always need to take last year as an example. It shows we had good races last year up to a certain point where things went wrong and we lost a lot of points, not necessarily making big mistakes but losing out, losing points."
Vettel won the title by winning the season-ending Abu Dhabi race after the championship had gone down to the wire with four drivers still mathematically in with a chance.
He had not led the championship at any point until then, with Webber in a better points position and both McLaren and Ferrari drivers taking their turns at the top.
Vettel had also failed to score in Australia, Turkey, Belgium and South Korea before winning the last two races of the year.
"If you look at Formula One and you compare it to other sports, it's a very, very long season," said Vettel, even if the current championship is now reduced to 19 races after Bahrain was cancelled.
"We have a lot of races and there are so many things that can happen, and surely you will have some races where everything will work, but you will have races where you will struggle, where it will be difficult, where you have conditions like Canada or things not going your way.
"It's not necessarily mistakes but it just doesn't go your way," he added.
Vettel's only real mistake of the season so far was in Montreal where he slipped wide while leading on the final lap with Button piling on the pressure and roaring past to win after being in last place at one point.
The German was dominant on Sunday after nailing his seventh pole of the year and, even, if some stifled a yawn, he was thrilled with the afternoon.
"If we have a chance to win then we have to take it," he said. "If the day comes and we might struggle and not be competitive enough and the car is only maybe good enough for third then we have to finish third and not seventh."
First Published: Monday, June 27, 2011, 17:43