Sebastian Vettel is on pole position for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after a blistering display of pace and will be joined on the front row for the first race of the 2011 Formula One season by Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton demonstrated McLaren's improvement by closing the game to within 0.778 seconds of Vettel late in Saturday's qualifying session.
Hamilton will be happy with his performance, although it was the German who really impressed at Albert Park, with the reigning world champion putting in a dominant performance in each phase of qualifying for the first race of the season.
Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber will start Sunday's race in third position and is joined on the second row by Hamilton's team-mate, Jenson Button.
"It was a bit of a funny winter beause a lot of things changed, the car changed a lot, and we all had to work our way with the [new] tyres, but coming here it looks quite promising," said Vettel afterwards.
"The key is to finish the race, to see the chequered flag, because last year I had to retire halfway through.
"But we've had a very, very good preparation, we hardly had any reliability issues, and the car is not too slow, so things are looking good. Today was the base, and it couldn't be any better."
Webber admitted he was disappointed by his performance and said: "I couldn't do the times today, I was disappointed with my performance. I tried my best. I'm a little bit mystified by the gap to Seb, but I'll have a look and see where I can improve."
Ferrari struggled for speed during qualifying, with Fernando Alonso only managing to qualify in fifth.
Sunday's race begins at 07:00 GMT.