`Hoon` Hamilton fined for Melbourne street spin

Melbourne: McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton has been fined AUSD 500 (USD 445) but avoided conviction for reckless driving outside Melbourne`s Australian Grand Prix circuit in March.

Hamilton, who came sixth at the race, was booked and had his Mercedes car impounded for spinning his wheels in view of police in a street near the Albert Park circuit.

The 25-year-old did not appear in Melbourne Magistrates` Court on Tuesday but avoided conviction for a charge of "driving a vehicle causing loss of traction", a court spokesman told Reuters.

Local media quoted Hamilton`s lawyer as telling the court that the Briton had publicly apologised and suffered "embarrassment, humiliation and distress" after he was denounced in the media.

Magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton was a role model for young people, which put the onus on him to behave responsibly.

"This is about somebody in a responsible position behaving like a hoon," Alsop was quoted by Australian Associated Press as saying.

A `hoon` is a term used by Australians and New Zealanders to describe a person who drives irresponsibly or recklessly.

Alsop said he would not convict Hamilton as it was the first offence of its kind by the Briton.

Hamilton`s off-circuit driving has previously fallen foul of the law. The 2008 world champion was fined and had his license suspended for a month after being stopped by police in France when clocked at 196 kph on a motorway.

Hamilton has won two races this season but lost his championship lead to Mark Webber after failing to finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this month.

He trails the Australian by four points ahead of the next race in Belgium.

Bureau Report

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