V8 Supercars Championship leader Jamie Whincup has no plans to temper his attacking style despite making a series of uncharacteristic mistakes during the early phase of the season.
The six-time champion was as aggressive as ever on Sunday at Phillip Island, twice running off the track in his dogged determination to beat eventual winner Scott McLaughlin.
Whincup appeared set for second place in Race 7 before running wide at Turn 12 after a late Safety Car restart, dropping him to fourth.
The Red Bull driver had earlier saved a wild moment through the grass on the opening lap as he attempted an outside pass on ultimate race winner McLaughlin that had onlookers gasping.
The moments came during a day that had started with a spin into the gravel at Turn 2 in qualifying, which was the result of Whincup’s foot slipping off the brake pedal.
Having also raised eyebrows with a simple cold tyre mistake at Symmons Plains that ruined his Sunday race, Whincup says that his run of errors is just part of the game.
“It’s a tough job driving a car on the limit day in, day out, week in, week out,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve had an amazing run where I’ve made very minimal (mistakes), but I’m just on the ragged edge everywhere trying to win races.
“We were trying to win. I’m not interested in circulating in second.
“When I’m not winning races we’ll just keep stepping up until we can. (by) Doing that, some times you make mistakes.
“I’ve made a couple in a row, but I’m not concerned. It’s just the way it goes. I’m not worried about it at all.”
Although Sunday’s Turn 1 incident could have had nasty consequences, Whincup says he has no beef with McLaughlin over the Volvo driver’s line.
“There was certainly enough room there to go two-wide,” he said.
“He didn’t leave a car width but he didn’t really do anything wrong.
“It is what it is. I took to the grass and was lucky to get away with that.”
Whincup leads McLaughlin in the championship by merely 15 points, while Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes are also within 40 of the lead.
“No one has really had a clean run, it’s been up and down and a bit messy for everyone,” said Whincup of the championship.
“It’s early days but I’d rather be leading than be sitting anywhere else.
“We’ll keep our heads down and see how it plays out.”