Charles Leclerc says finding thief who stole £245,000 watch hasn’t gone ‘smooth’

Charles Leclerc has admitted the process of finding the thief who stole a £245k watch from his wrist has not been "smooth".

The Ferrari star was out with friends in the Tuscan city of Viareggio on Easter Monday when the incident took place. A thief took advantage at around 10pm when he was recognised by fans who quickly mobbed him.

As the Formula 1 racer was signing autographs and taking photos with those desperate to spend a few moments in his company, Leclerc did not even notice someone slip his expensive Richard Mille watch off his wrist. It was only afterwards that he realised what had happened, but the thief was long gone.

According to reports in Italy, Leclerc attempted to chase the thief down but was unsuccessful. The incident was reported to the police, who have been trying to track down the criminal – but apparently have had little luck so far.

"I won’t go too much into details, it hasn’t been a great experience. I cannot say much more than that," said the Monegasque driver when asked for an update on the situation ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

"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."

He will hope the final part of that answer is true ahead of another huge race in these early-season exchanges. Leclerc leads the championship after a near-perfect start to the campaign, but there is always extra pressure for Ferrari drivers whenever they take to a track on home soil.

Ahead of the first Sprint Qualifying weekend of the year, the 24-year-old insists he is relishing the challenge of coming up with a result which will please the demanding Tifosi. "I'm very excited. After the first three races, everything has gone our way, and we seem to have a very strong car for this year," he added.

"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. But the most important thing for us this weekend is to not overdo things, which is easy whenever there is excitement, and whenever things are going well. We need to stay focused on our job, not try to do too much, and hopefully it will be a positive weekend."

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