Former formula one world champion Lewis Hamilton has been fined in Australia for performing driving stunts.
No, it’s not a precursor to another bad joke; it really did happen. The British driver fell foul of the state of Victoria’s so-called “hoon” laws, which target youthful loutish behaviour.
Hamilton was down under for the Australian Grand Prix in March when he decided to show off to fans in a borrowed Mercedes. He was caught by police executing a “burnout” and a “fishtail”, which are tricks involving intentionally spins and skids.
Hamilton was not in court to hear his punishment. He is currently in Belgium preparing for the latest race, and presumably keeping his manoeuvres for on the track.
He avoided a prison term as a first time offender and received a fine of A$500 (£288) for improper use of a motor vehicle. Hamilton does have previous though but in France where his car was impounded after he was caught speeding back in 2007.
The magistrate said Hamilton should have acted as a role model for young people, rather than acting as a “hoon” – which is apparently Aussie speak for a boy racer.
Hamilton has apologised for this embarrassing incident, stating that he had merely been “over-exuberant”.
This is not the first time a racing driver has been brought to book for performing on the roads like he usually does on a race track, and it probably won’t be the last either. Hamilton knows he should behave more responsibly and perhaps this will deter him from any future bad behaviour.
What makes this offence particularly ironic is that it was committed on the day that the local Roads Minister Tim Pallas launched a new road safety campaign. Pallas was not at all happy with Hamilton, obviously.
We know Australians can be blunt speaking at times. And this is shown in the name of the campaign launched in Victoria. It’s title: Don’t Be a Dickhead.
What can you say?
And of course when asked the obvious question, Pallas agreed that, yes, Hamilton was one.