By Daily Mail Reporter
Upset: F1 star Lewis Hamilton slunk down from his set to hide from photographers after being arrested by police in Melbourne, Australia
This was the moment Australian police booked British Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton for spinning the wheels of his silver Mercedes sports car.
The 2008 F1 world champion was pulled over under what are commonly known as 'anti-hoon' laws after police saw him driving erratically down a road in Melbourne after leaving practice for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.
The sportsman appeared embarrassed and upset by the incident, which saw him accelerate so hard that the wheels spun and smoke billowed from the tyres, and sank down into his seat as officers questioned him.
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Booked: Hamilton being arrested by Australian police in Melbourne on suspicion of driving offences
Hamilton, 25, looked close to tears as he attempted to cover his face with his hands to prevent photographers taking shots of him as he was arrested.
In a statement shortly after his car was towed away by police, he said: 'I was driving in an over-exuberant manner and, as a result, was stopped by the police.
What I did was silly and I want to apologise for it.'
The 25-year-old is understood to have told officers who stopped him that he was worried the incident would tarnish his reputation.
Hamilton was on Lakeside Drive, which is set aside each year as part of the Formula 1 race.
Police have been clamping down on 'hoons' - often young motorists who speed, spin their car wheels and perform rear-wheel swerving 'fishtails' and circular 'doughnuts' - on public roads.
So when at around 9.15pm last night local time, Hamilton was seen leaving a temporary enclosure set up beside Lakeside Drive in preparation for the Formula 1 race and burning his tyres in the process, police who had been parked in a van chased after him with blue light flashing. He pulled over immediately.
Senior Constable Scott Woodford of Melbourne police said Hamilton was 'extremely co-operative,' adding: 'It would have been fair to say he was fairly disappointed with the incident.'
He was interviewed at the spot on Lakeside Drive, part of the four-mile Formula 1 circuit near the junction of Fitzroy Street - a popular restaurant and red light area - for about half an hour and was routinely breath-tested.
Hamilton's car is impounded after he was pulled over by police
Hamilton's Mercedes C63 is towed away
Lewis Hamilton talks to engineers in the McLaren garage during qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix today
With his name and address recorded, he was booked for improper use of a vehicle - and his car was then towed to a police yard in the suburb of Preston, where it will be held for 48 hours under Australia's strict 'anti-hoon' laws.
It is not known whether Hamilton telephoned anyone in the McLaren team to give him a lift back to his hotel or whether he returned by taxi.
The laws have been in force for a number of years in the hope of cutting down on anti-social behaviour that includes burn-outs and speeding.
Hamilton will be charged under summons, which means a date has to be set for a court appearance.
This could result in his case being hastily scheduled because he is a visitor, or an arrangement might be made for him to be represented by a lawyer in his absence.
It could not be confirmed whether the Mercedes was his own vehicle or whether it had been rented or loaned to him.
It seems yesterday's incident may have affected Hamilton's performance on the racetrack today, as he qualified in 11th place for the Australian Grand Prix.
However, Hamilton said the booking had 'not really affected' his qualifying position.
He added: 'I don't know if I got the right heat into the tyres - but at least Jenson Button's doing a good job.'
Button qualified in third place.
But McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted: 'Lewis was a bit distracted after what happened.
'Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes a less good day.'
Drivers convicted of improper use of a motor vehicle face a maximum fine of about £760 and, if they possess an Australian drivers licence, would lose five points from their 12 points.
'Generally if someone is booked for doing what we would described as "a wheelie", that is spinning the tyres and causing smoke, this is seen as losing traction, which in turn means not having complete control of a motor vehicle,' a legal source explained.
Police around Australia have been on high alert for irresponsible driving in recent months following a spate of young motorists being involved in speeding, fatal crashes and chases by police.
In one accident earlier this week the young driver of a stolen car, being chased by police until the officers dropped back, smashed into another vehicle killing himself and the two adults and a baby in the other car.