Melbourne magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton should act like a role model [EPA]

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton had his behaviour described as that of "a hoon" as he was fined for reckless driving outside Melbourne's Australian Grand Prix circuit.

The British former world champion was ordered to pay $445 – or 500 Australian dollars – but avoided conviction.

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 in March.

Magistrate Clive Alsop said Hamilton was a role model for young people.

"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.

Conviction avoided

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 the Reuters news agency.

Australian 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.

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

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.

Source: Agencies