Lewis Hamilton has been fined a modest AU$500 – less than £300 – for his Mercedes hooning incident in Melbourne earlier this year. However, he did not get a conviction that would have left him with a record.
The McLaren driver did not attend the hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court, but communicated by letter, apologising for his absence due to his “international racing duties.” He was represented by lawyer Sandip Mukerjea.
Hamilton pleaded guilty to improper use of a motor vehicle. His lawyer said that he had apologised and had suffered “embarrassment, humiliation and distress” as a result of the bad publicity he had received.
In his letter Hamilton stressed that he was involved in various road safety campaigns, with Mercedes-Benz, Johnnie Walker, and the FIA. he added that the bad publicity could be “potentially detrimental to my efforts to promote road safety.”
Magistrate Clive Alsop said that Hamilton was a role model and should behave appropriately, but as it was a first offence, the Briton did not get a conviction. The fine was the maximum he could give.
The return of the story to the headlines just before Spa will ensure that Lewis gets a media grilling in Belgium on Thursday, but otherwise he can now put the event behind him.
The full text of Hamilton’s letter can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/25z3duv