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Hamilton fined for Australian 'hooning' stunt

ESPNF1 Staff
August 24, 2010 « F1 signs sponsorship deal with UBS | »
Lewis hamilton said he suffered "embarrassment, humiliation and distress" over the incident © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton has been fined AUS$500 but avoided a conviction for his reckless driving outside the venue of the Australian Grand Prix last March.

Hamilton, who did not travel to Australia for the hearing on Tuesday, was arrested, charged and summonsed for driving dangerously near the Albert Park circuit during this year's grand prix weekend. He was represented by a lawyer in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, who pleaded guilty on the McLaren driver's behalf.

Lawyer Sandip Mukerjea said the Hamilton, who addressed two letters to the court, suffered "embarrassment, humiliation and distress" over the incident due to the widespread media coverage. In one of the letters, Hamilton said the incident was due to a "momentary lapse of judgement" that had caused "immense" publicity that was a "form of punishment". He also insisted that he was "in control of the car at all times".

His lawyer asked that a conviction not be recorded because it may impede Hamilton's ability to travel internationally. The FIA also provided the court with a character reference.

The magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton escaped conviction because it was his first offense, but "this is about somebody in a responsible position behaving like a hoon. It doesn't show the general application of the level of responsibility and maturity that he must use every day on the race track."