Lewis Hamilton was relishing his return to the front of the pack in qualifying, hailing McLaren's tenacious efforts for his Australian P1.
After a difficult 2011 in which Red Bull ruled Saturday afternoons and McLaren netted just one pole position when Hamilton edged Vettel in Korea, the Brit and his team were back at the front in Melbourne.
In what could be seen as a turning of the tide - and which McLaren are dearly hoping is - Hamilton proved to be the man to beat over one flying lap.
Posting a 1:24.922, the 27-year-old beat his team-mate Jenson Button by 0.152s while Lotus' Romain Grosjean was third.
"It is an incredible feeling from back here, and to get such a good start, this is my and Jenson's my first 1-2 in qualifying," Hamilton said.
"It is fantastic to start the season this way. I am massively proud of team working hard as they always do, to see this result is great.
"Tomorrow is the most important day and we have a lot to look forward to. A tremendous job by the team to get us to this point. They had a tough couple of years but never gave up."
As for qualifying, which saw the McLaren driver heading into the pits while holding onto the P1 slot after making a mistake, Hamilton said: "My first lap in Q3 felt pretty special.
"At the end of it, I felt it'd be surprising if anyone could push ahead of that. I tried even harder on my final run, but braked a little too late into the first corner and spoiled the lap.
"After that, I was just hoping that nobody would go any quicker.
"I just love qualifying, especially when you get the lap just right; when it all flows, the tyres work and you hit the sweet-spot everywhere."
He added: "It's like heaven."
But while Saturday may have been a time for smiles, Hamilton admits there is still a lot of work to be done ahead of Sunday's 58-lap grand prix as it won't be an easy ride for the Woking team.
"Today we showed that we not only have the most beautiful car in Formula 1, but also the fastest!
"Of course, there's still a long way to go tomorrow - looking after the tyres will be key - but we're in the best possible position to have a strong race."
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