The Ferrari driver escaped unharmed after thieves snatched a Richard Mille watch worth over $300,000 from his wrist in the Tuscan city of Viareggio in Italy on Monday evening. 

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the robbery had taken place after Leclerc was approached for photographs and autographs by fans. 

Leclerc was understandably coy about the incident given it is now a police matter when he spoke to media on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but the Monegasque confirmed those responsible have not yet been found. 

“I won’t go too much into details, it hasn’t been a great experience,” Leclerc 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.”

Leclerc arrives at Imola - the first of two home races for Ferrari this season - holding a 34-point lead in the championship after romping to a dominant victory last time out in Australia, marking his second win from the first three races of 2022. 

With Ferrari enjoying its strongest start to a season in years and looking like genuine championship contenders, Leclerc has warned his team not to ‘overdo’ things amid the excitement of the occasion of a home event. 

“I’m very excited,” Leclerc said. “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 pretty 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.”

Sainz ‘laughing’ at contract rumours ahead of F1 Emilia Romagna GP

Ferrari announced on Thursday that Sainz had signed a new contract extension to keep him at the Italian outfit until at least the end of 2024, matching the deal currently held by Leclerc. 

While the deal had long been considered a formality, with talks first commencing during the off-season, reports from Germany earlier this week suggested things had hit a snag regarding agreement over the length of the contract. 

It was reported that Sainz wanted a straight two-year deal, while Ferrari was only offering a one-year contract with the option to extend for a further season. 

The Spaniard said he found the reports amusing because he knew he had already put pen to paper over his new contract. 

“You can imagine how much I was laughing at home!” Sainz said. “When people started writing these things – because I had everything pretty much done and we were just waiting for Imola to announce. 

“Funny times, like always in Formula 1, with the gossip and all that.”

Contrary to the reports, Sainz said the deal was “super straightforward” to finalise. 

“It’s been easy going, I guess, after such a good first year we had,” he explained. 

“Just getting to agree through the winter was fairly easy for both parties and just now having the opportunity to announce in a place like Imola, in front of the Tifosi, on a weekend like this, it was ideal. 

“So, we put together a good plan for the announcement being here.”