The 2023 Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza will live in Carlos Sainz's memory for more reasons than one. Not only did he beat championship leader Max Verstappen to pole position on Saturday, but he actually managed to hold the position for several laps and ultimately finish third on Sunday. Later that day, he chased and restrained men who stole his ultra-expensive Richard Mille watch. No joke.
According to various sources, the Spaniard was walking out of the Armani Hotel in the city of Milan on Sunday evening, when three unknown men approached Sainz and a few colleagues. It's rumored that the thieves posed as fans wanting to get an autograph. It's unclear if the thieves obtained Sainz's watch forcefully or if he voluntarily surrendered for his own safety.
Once the three robbers made their getaway, Sainz and several others decided to chase them on foot in order to retrieve the watch. According to Motorsport.com, Sainz was accompanied by his assistant, trainer, and other bystanders. Reports claim that not long after Sainz set off in pursuit, he caught up with one of the thieves and managed to restrain him until the police showed up. His assistant also reportedly caught up with another of the thieves, while his trainer detained the third one. It's unclear if the interactions between Sainz, his staff, and the thieves were violent, but it's known that all three suspects—aged between 18 and 20—were ultimately arrested. Sainz recovered his timepiece.
Richard Mille produces extremely expensive watches, and in the case of Sainz's, the Alexander Zverev Edition piece is worth around $324,000, according to Reuters. His teammate Charles Leclerc was the victim of a similar theft in 2022 while in Italy, when he was robbed of his own Richard Mille. McLaren driver Lando Norris also had his stolen while in London back in 2020.
It's good news that Sainz was ultimately able to get his watch back and make those responsible face justice. On the other hand, I can't help but think that engaging three thieves (even with the help of others) is a mighty dangerous thing to do. You can always replace a watch, y'know?
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