Hamilton fined for driving like a 'hoon'

A judge in Melbourne has fined British 2009 World Champion Lewis Hamilton for driving carelessly. The magistrate said that Hamilton was behaving like a "hoon" -- slang for a person who engages in street racing.


AFP - British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton was fined 500 dollars (450 US) Tuesday and dubbed a "hoon" for doing a burn-out in his street car in the lead-up to this year's Australian Grand Prix.

Melbourne magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton had failed in his duty as a role model after the incident in March, when the former champion accelerated his high-powered Mercedes into a busy street, fish-tailing the back wheels.

"This is about somebody in a responsible position behaving like a hoon (boy racer)," Alsop said.

McLaren-Mercedes' Hamilton, 25, who did not attend the hearing, had earlier apologised for his "over-exuberant" driving outside the Albert Park racetrack in central Melbourne.

"What I did was silly, and I want to apologise for it," he said in a statement.

Victoria state premier John Brumby said Hamilton set a "bad example" and urged him to donate to an education programme to help ease Australia's problem with irresponsible driving.

"Lewis Hamilton set a bad example, he's been fined for that, and the more he can say about the dangers of speeding, I think the better it would be for him and the better for our community," Brumby said.

"He may see fit to make a donation to perhaps a programme that assists with educating drivers about the dangers of hoon driving and the dangers of speeding on our roads."

Hamilton, currently second in the drivers' standings, escaped a conviction for the offence. In 2007, he had his driving licence suspended for a month after he was clocked driving 196 kilometres (122 miles) per hour in France.

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