Speeding Hamilton joins Fisichella, Button, Montoya…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Indianapolis, 2007 | DaimlerLewis Hamilton has had some unwanted negative publicity after being caught speeding in France.

Although I can’t condone speeding, nor can I say ‘I’m holier than thou’ – I picked up a ticket of my own this year. Ironically enough I was returning from the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the time…

Hamilton is not alone – thousands of British motorists are ticketed for speeding every week. And F1 drivers from Jenson Button to Jean Alesi have had their collars felt by the long arm of the law. But some of them took it rather more seriously than others.

Nelson Piquet

Three-times Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet was disqualified from driving in June this year for various offences including speeding and parking violations.

His wife Viviane also lost her licence and the pair had to attend classes and sit an exam to get their licenses back. Meanwhile Nelson Piquet Jnr will make his F1 debut for Renault in 2008.

Giancarlo Fisichella

The former Renault driver had his licence taken away after he broke the speed limit in Italy in 2005. Fisichella later said he was in a hurry to return home to his unwell son.

He said: “I understand that even in these situations you must always avoid going too fast and respect the speed limits. I’m aware of having made a mistake so I apologize and I’m ready to pay for it. My commitments towards road safety remain strong.”

Juan-Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, Melbourne, 2001 | BMW MediaSeven times Grand Prix winner Montoya was caught doing 200kph in France in 2003. He was less repentant than Fisichella, saying: “Who doesn’t go at 200 clicks on those motorways? I tell you, that car does 240kph no problem. I was taking it easy.”

The gendarme issued an on the spot fine which Montoya paid in cash right away with wife-to-be Connie at the wheel: “Connie and I had been chatting and she told me to go steady because there might be police about so I was only doing 200km/h. Anyway, after I paid the policeman, I just handed over to Connie and told her to drive.”

Eddie Irvine

Irvine was arrested for allegedly speeding on a scooter in London, without insurance.

He failed to turn up in court and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest, and three years later the police were still looking for him…

Jean Alesi

Alesi retired from Formula 1 in 2001 and two years later was (like Hamilton and Montoya) caught speeding in France.

Alesi said: “I assume full responsibility and acknowledge my mistake. You learn from your mistakes and I will try to behave better than this in the future.”

Jenson Button

Button was caught speeding during his debut season in 2000, also in France. He clocked 230kph in a diesel-powered BMW – being 20 years old at the time he was only allowed to drive diesel cars in Europe.

Photos: Daimler | BMW Media

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22 comments on Speeding Hamilton joins Fisichella, Button, Montoya…

  1. Interesting that they have almost all been caught out in France! And people think it’s bad in the UK! But seriously, what is it? Do people mistakenly think it’s autobahn rules in France?

  2. Vertigo said on 19th December 2007, 21:57

    Didn’t Senna get done for speeding here in the UK as well?

  3. It is ad that a pro driver get a ticket :S, it is like a football player ejected in a exibition match… I think that F1A would penalize drivers who get tickets! Just remove the ‘superlicense’ from them for a race (and ban for a season if they are caught driving drunk)!

    Speeding put in danger not only the driver life, but other people around him!

  4. Senna got caught doing 125mph on the M25. Frankly, given the usual state of the M25, that deserves a medal, not a driving ban, but hey. It was reported at the time that the policeman who stopped him said “Who do you think you are? Nigel Mansell?”

    But what on earth is this about under 21s only being allowed to drive diesels on the continent. Doesn’t sound at all plausible.

  5. Vertigo said on 19th December 2007, 22:31

    It’s Europe, anything is plausible. In Europe you’re not allowed to call yoghurt yoghurt, you have to call it some fermented-milk thing. That’s not relevant to F1 but I thought it was interesting.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th December 2007, 23:20

    Thanks Vertigo, I think that is by a wide margin the oddest thing I’ve read on my own website! Incidentally I live in Europe and had a delicious yoghurt for lunch…

    I’d heard about the Senna one but I couldn’t find a decent source on it (admittedly I only had a fairly cursory look) and I’ve heard the “Who do you think you are? Driver X?” story with various different names substituted…

    I think the under 21s thing might be insurance related. Here’s the link to the original story on that one:

    Autosport – Button fined for speeding on motorway (external)

  7. Journeyer said on 20th December 2007, 1:36

    There’s even a story I read on F1 Racing that John Button, Jenson’s dad, was saying around that time that their speeding actually promoted the diesel-powered BMW Jenson was driving. After all, who knew they could go so quick? :p

  8. Steven Roy said on 20th December 2007, 2:58

    Prost got caught in France a few years ago. The cop asked him if he thought he was Alain Prost.

    He was found guilty but received no punishment because of his extraordinary driving ability. And not because he was French.

  9. liono said on 20th December 2007, 9:45

    how bout schumacher?

  10. Eric M. said on 20th December 2007, 10:02

    “how bout schumacher?”

    He didn’t get caught. ;)

  11. they like speeding in france dont they :D

    my girlfriend got a bloody speeding fine this year! well gutted, but at lease she didn’t get a £400 fine.

  12. I remember that mike hawthorn was killed racing a jag on the m1? – and shortly after that a cobra on test was reputed to have done 150+ – that’s when limits began to be applied to motorways here – then the fuel crisis of the 70’s introduce a 70mph tempary limit which despite improvements in brakes especially in todays cars has never been lifted.

  13. If I’m not mistaken Kimi got pulled over for speeding in Finland a few years ago. In Finland you get fined in relation to your income so I bet even Kimi’s wallet was hurting a bit there. :)

  14. That sends out the wrong signals to young drivers!

    The fact that they are professional drivers, should make them role models for their fans.

    During Rally Ireland, the message promoted was ‘Keep racing in its place’ Too many people are being killed because of speed on our roads.

  15. I agree with Salva by the way!

    It is a serious issue in most countries, and stories like this making headline news does nothing to help those who try and reduce the number of deaths

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