Leclerc fully focused on Imola despite watch theft

The 24-year-old Monegasque, winner of two of the first three races, had his exclusive Richard Mille timepiece stolen off his wrist in the Italian seaside resort of Viareggio on Monday night.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.   -  REUTERS

Ferrari's Formula One championship leader Charles Leclerc said he was fully focused on his Italian team's Imola homecoming this weekend despite being robbed of a watch potentially worth millions.

The 24-year-old Monegasque, winner of two of the first three races, had his exclusive Richard Mille timepiece stolen off his wrist in the Italian seaside resort of Viareggio on Monday night.

"I won't go too much into details. It hasn't been a great experience. I cannot say much more than that," Leclerc told reporters at Imola on Thursday.

"Everything is going on with the police and they are trying to find them.

"It hasn't been as smooth as what I have read but overall, I am fine and fully focused for the weekend. It won't hurt me for this weekend."

Edoardo Cetola, head of Carabinieri in Viareggio investigating the robbery, told Reuters there were currently no suspects.

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"We are checking the video surveillance cameras to re-construct all the phases of the robbery and find important clues for the investigation," he added.

A similar Richard Mille RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc watch was sold last year for 2.1 million Swiss francs ($2.20 million), according to the italianwatchspotter.com website.

Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is a Ferrari sponsor and Leclerc has worn his watch, which carries his initials, on the podium.

An investigative source said Leclerc had been in Viareggio with trainer Andrea Ferrari, who comes from the city, driving a black Ferrari 488.

The robbery took place when the Formula One driver was approached by two people wearing scooter helmets who asked for a selfie after he had dropped the trainer off at his home.

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The source said Leclerc tried to give chase in his car but could not follow the scooter.

McLaren's Lando Norris, who had a 40,000 pound ($52,140) Richard Mille watch stolen at Wembley Stadium last year during the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, commiserated with Leclerc by text.

"I messaged him as soon as I saw the news," he told Reuters.

"When I go to events now I organise it better, in the safest way possible," said the Briton, whose watch has yet to be recovered. "At times you forget about these things that can happen.

"There's only so much you can do because you still want to lead a normal life and be able to walk down the street." 

($1 = 0.7672 pounds) 

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