NO MORE THE BRIDESMAID, SAYS WINTERBOTTOM
MARK Winterbottom laughs before shaking his head.
“That is a load of crap,’’ he said after being asked if there was more pressure on him now he was leading the V8 Supercars championship.
“I don’t mind leading. I would rather be in front than chasing, and anyone that says otherwise is kidding themselves.’’
Winterbottom is right where he wants to be as he heads into the latest V8 round, beginning today at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich.
Following nine years of almosts, he is determined to turn things around.
The man they called Frosty is leading the championship by 248 points.
The perennial bridesmaid to Jamie Whincup is bolting down the aisle – and he isn’t going to slow down even though many are tipping he will trip over.
Some have suggested the pressure is now on him because he is leading. It is his to lose – not to win.
“I am not worried about anything like that,’’ Winterbottom said.
“I don’t even think about it. Not when my car is quick.
“If you have the right car then nothing else matters.
“There is no extra pressure leading. The pressure is on the guys chasing.
“They’re the ones who have to get the points.
“Right now I have one bad round up my sleeve.
“I am in a position where I can have a shocker and still be in it, where the same sort of round would probably put some of the others out.’’
With his lifelong nemesis Whincup seemingly out of the reckoning following a shocking season start that has him almost 400 points off the pace, all eyes are now on Winterbottom.
So will he play it safe and attempt to conserve points? Or will he go all out, foot to the floor?
“We have to keep pushing on,’’ Winterbottom said.
“We need to keep on going for the wins. The car is performing right now and we need to make the most of it.
“I want to keep the form going and I won’t be trying to protect my lead.
“This is the point of the season when the other teams start to fire back, so we have to meet fire with fire.’’
Winterbottom tried to push last year while in a similar position. He failed.
“I attacked last year but the car just wasn’t there,’’ Winterbottom said.
“Every point I lost felt like I was losing three, not one because we were just struggling. We weren’t quick enough and we just went backwards. I have the same mentality this year, it is just we have a better car.
“I would be comfortable right now even if I was behind because I know I can win races with this car.
“Last year it felt like we were stuck in mud.
“We tried to attack but the results just got worse and worse.’’
There are no lessons learned from previous years, according to Winterbottom, because racing is not rocket science. He knows only a quick car and good results will give him that championship he so desires.
“We are in exactly the position I want to be in,’’ Winterbottom said.
“And now we just have to make sure we go on with it. Ipswich and SMP are both tough rounds.
“I am hoping that we have good cars and get good results. I want to extend the lead and go into the endurances races with the biggest buffer possible.’’
DETERMINATION: Mark Winterbottom has his eye on the crown and says he has a better car to achieve it.