Charles Leclerc admits finding watch thief hasn’t been a ‘smooth’ process before F1 return

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has said efforts to recover the watch robbed from his wrist on Monday haven’t been as “smooth” as he’d hope. Initial reports from Italy suggested this season’s standing leader was hopeful of catching the culprits through CCTV footage, but he’s hinted his prospects aren’t all that positive.

The special edition Richard Mille watch—said to be worth £245,000—was pilfered while Leclerc was visiting the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio. A large crowd of fans soon gathered seeking selfies and autographs, and it was only after the mob dispersed that Leclerc noticed what had happened.

The timing couldn’t be worse, with the 24-year-old immersed in his best F1 season to date, 34 points ahead of his nearest rival after two wins from three outings. Leclerc provided an update on the matter and assured reporters the robbery won’t impede his performance at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix come Sunday.

“I won’t go too much into details, it hasn’t been a great experience,” he said. “I cannot say much more than that. But obviously everything is going on with the police, and they are trying to find them. It hasn’t been as smooth as what I’ve read. But yeah, overall, I am fine and fully focused on the weekend. It won’t hurt me for this weekend.”

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The Monegasque claimed pole position ahead of each of his wins in Bahrain and Australia so far this season. He’s also recorded the fastest lap at every race this term, with high hopes of bringing Ferrari their first drivers’ title since Kimi Raikkonen was crowned king in 2007.

There’s added pressure this weekend as the calendar turns to Imola, though, a circuit at which Ferrari are historically dominant. That being said, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen are the only drivers to have won the Emilia Romagna race to date.

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“I’m very excited,” added Leclerc. “After the first three races, everything has gone our way, and we seem to have a very strong car for this year.

“Obviously to be at home for Ferrari, I know that in past years we had so much support here, and now to be here in that position, I’m sure it’s going to be special.”

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