Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull one- two and looked equipped to hunt down a fourth straight formula one world title during practice yesterday for the Australian Grand Prix.
The German dominated both 90-minute sessions, vying for top spot with veteran Australian teammate Mark Webber.
The first day of the 2013 season was the first indication of the team's speed after topsy-turvy results from a rainswept Catalunya track in Spain during pre- season testing.
Using the new Pirelli supersoft tyres, Vettel sliced more than a second from his pacesetting time in the first session.
Webber, his Red Bull teammate, leapfrogged the German with 40 minutes left but, five minutes later, Vettel had reinforced his brilliance.
He set the first lap under the 1 minute 26 second mark for the day.
Vettel jumped back to the head of the list with a 1m25.908s time, ahead of Webber's 1m26.172s lap.
But he believed more performance could be squeezed from the car and also was wary of impending rain during qualifying today.
"Today we were very happy, but tomorrow's another day," Vettel said. "We are aware that the conditions could change.
"As we can't predict how much that will impact the tyres and car balance, we need to be ready to change things." Webber chose his words carefully, but admitted the Pirelli tyres, which degrade much more quickly than those used previously, had caused issues.
"It was a pretty positive day for us, but there are still areas to improve on," he said. "The tyres are interesting, but that's how they are.
"It's the same for everyone. It was actually not a bad day."
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took revenge on new teammate Lewis Hamilton when he finished third quickest, two-tenths of a second behind Webber.