British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on Saturday apologised after having his private car impounded by police for reckless driving in Melbourne after practice for the Australian Grand Prix.
The former world champion had only hours earlier set the fastest time in practice for tomorrow's Australian race when he was stopped by police as he left the Albert Park street circuit in his Mercedes road car late yesterday.
Police said the McLaren Mercedes ace was pulled over by a police patrol and had his car impounded for doing a burnout as he turned into a busy street outside the Melbourne track.
Senior police constable Scott Woodford said Hamilton's car had "accelerated heavily and lost traction to the rear wheels" in making a turn and had been impounded until Monday.
Hamilton, 25, later confirmed the incident and apologised for his behaviour in a statement released through his McLaren team.
"This evening, I was driving in an over-exuberant manner and, as a result, was stopped by the police," Hamilton said in the statement.
"What I did was silly, and I want to apologise for it."
Senior constable Woodford said Hamilton had been "extremely cooperative" with police throughout the incident.
"It's fair to say that he was disappointed with the whole incident but I must say he was extremely cooperative throughout," he said.
"He's expected to be charged on summons with the offence of improper use of a motor vehicle," said Woodford, who added that Hamilton had a male passenger in the car with him at the time.
It was another embarrassing off-track incident for the young English driver, who is one of the favourites for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.
He had his regular driving licence suspended for a month after being stopped by police in France for speeding on the motorway in 2007.
In that incident, he was at the wheel of a Mercedes when he was clocked at 196 kilometres per hour.
It is also Hamilton's second apology in connection with the Australian Grand Prix after he and his McLaren team were found to have lied in a post-race stewards' hearing that dealt with Jarno Trulli's overtaking of the Briton under safety car conditions in last year's race.
Hamilton will be bidding for pole position on the Australian race grid in qualifying later today.