Lewis Hamilton was stopped by police for behaving like a boy racer Friday only hours after he had wowed a Melbourne crowd with the fastest lap in Australian Grand Prix practice.
The McLaren driver, who in 2008 became Formula One's youngest ever world champion, found himself having to make a public apology about his behaviour in Australia for the second year in a row.
"This evening, I was driving in an over-exuberant manner and, as a result, was stopped by the police," the 25-year-old Briton said in a McLaren statement.
"What I did was silly, and I want to apologise for it."
Senior police constable Scott Woodford told Reuters that a 25-year-old male, resident in Switzerland, was stopped at 9.15pm in the St. Kilda neighbourhood at the wheel of a brand new Mercedes.
He said the car, which had "accelerated heavily and lost traction to the rear wheels" in making a turn, had been impounded and was due to be released Monday.
"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's fair to say that he was disappointed with the whole incident but I must say he was extremely cooperative throughout."
A team spokesman, contacted by Reuters, could offer no further details.
A year ago, the driver was forced to issue a far more humiliating apology after he was found to have "deliberately misled" race stewards after the season-opening race in Melbourne.
Third on the night, he was subsequently disqualified from the race in a controversy that tarnished his reputation and hung over the opening races of the season.
"I've always had great experiences here and I don't look at last year's experience as a bad one," he had said on arrival in Sydney this week.
"I look at it as a stepping stone in my life and something I learned a whole lot from."
While one of the fastest and most thrilling of racers on the track, Hamilton has a far quieter life away from the paddock with a home in Switzerland when he is not visiting his popstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger in Los Angeles.
However this season he has broken out on his own, with his father Anthony no longer his manager or accompanying him to every race.
Both father and son have been in the headlines before for escapades in road cars, with Hamilton senior crashing a borrowed Porsche Carrera GT through a hedge near his home in 2008.
Hamilton had his regular licence suspended for a month after being stopped by police in France for speeding on the motorway in 2007.
In that incident, the Briton was at the wheel of a Mercedes when he was clocked at 196 kph near the northern town of Laon. Police stopped him, detained the car and fined him 600 euros.