According to a report by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Leclerc had his watch taken from him when he was approached by a man asking for a photograph at around 10pm on Monday evening in the Tuscan city of Viareggio. 

The world championship leader, who was unharmed in the incident, had already been stopped for photographs and autographs with fans prior to having the watch snatched from his wrist. 

It is understood that Leclerc has reported the matter to the police after the thief managed to escape the scene. 

Leclerc’s trainer Andrea Ferrari, who was with him at the time, posted about the incident on social media on Tuesday. 

“Via Salvatori has been completely in the dark for months. We have been reporting this for months,” Ferrari wrote on Instagram. 

"Well, last night in Via Salvatori, they robbed us. Do you think about fixing streetlights at some point? Asking for a friend.”

Leclerc was spotted in the crowd at the Monte-Carlo Masters Tennis tournament prior to the robbery. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Leclerc posted a picture of himself in Ferrari’s simulator as he prepares for this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. 

Leclerc heads to Imola leading the world championship by 34 points after taking his second win in three races in Australia last time out. 

Last July, McLaren driver Lando Norris was mugged after the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium. 

How Leclerc’s mindset has changed amid first F1 title fight

Leclerc has enjoyed a dream start to the 2022 F1 season and finds himself leading the championship by 34 points over Mercedes’ George Russell, while a second retirement in three races has left his main title rival Max Verstappen 46 points adrift. 

The Monegasque took his second victory of the season with a dominant drive in the Australian Grand Prix as he continued to underline his calibre as a potential world champion. 

While he has never before fought for the F1 title, winning a championship is nothing new to Leclerc, who stormed to back-to-back title successes in GP3 and Formula 2 before sealing his F1 graduation in 2018. 

Leclerc has already rejected the suggestion he has made a step up in his performances from last year amid his impressive start to 2022. Instead of simply driving better, the 24-year-old says there is one key difference compared to his previous seasons at Ferrari. 

"I have been in this situation in the junior categories but to be in it in F1 means a lot," Leclerc said after winning in Melbourne. “Especially after the last two years and especially with a team like Ferrari. So it feels incredible.

“Obviously, the mindset is a bit different compared to the last two years because now I know that underneath me I have a car that is capable of winning and I don't really have to overdo things to do something extremely special and spectacular to get one or two positions - because I know it is in the car and I just have to do the job.”