Lewis Hamilton fined for ‘burnout’ stunt in Australia
Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has been fined A$500 (£288) for performing a ‘burnout’ outside the Albert Park circuit at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
Hamilton was charged in May with “intentionally losing control of a vehicle” under the state of Victoria’s “hoon” laws after he was alleged to have intentionally spun and skidded his tires. As a result, Hamilton’s borrowed E3 Mercedes was impounded by police as he left the circuit.
McLaren’s 2008 world champion did not appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court as he prepares for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps after the sport’s four-week summer recess.
However, through his lawyer Sandip Mukerjea, Hamilton pleaded guilty to the charge of improper use of a motor vehicle.
Mr Mukerjea told the court that Hamilton had publicly apologised over the incident and suffered “embarrassment, humiliation and distress” after he was vilified by the Australian media for his stunt.
A character reference was also provided from David Ward, the director general of the FIA Foundation, the governing body for international motor sport.
Magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton was a role model for young people and should behave responsibly.
“This isn’t about somebody’s character, this is about somebody in a responsible position behaving like a hoon,” Mr Alsop said.
“It doesn’t show the general application of the level of responsibility and maturity that he must use every day on the race track.”
Mr Alsop accepted Hamilton’s request not record a conviction as it was the first offence of its kind.
Perhaps the court should have insisted on a more substantial fine to be used to help the state educate young drivers, or support road charities in Victoria and beyond. A measly £287 fine is not exactly going to break the bank for a multi-millionaire such as Hamilton.