Lewis Hamilton tore the rest of the field to absolute bits as he claimed the first pole position of the season with a searing lap in Melbourne.
The World Champion was imperious as he screamed around the track to secure a staggering pole by nearly seven-tenths of a second.
No one could get close to the flying Briton as he started the season off with a bang.
His closest rival from the previous season, Sebastian Vettel, could only manage to secure a place on the second row of the grid as Kimi Raikkonen claimed second place behind Hamilton.
A lot has been made of a Mercedes high-power setting known as 'party mode' ahead of the Australian Grand Prix but in a post-qualifying press conference, Hamilton insisted that he had used no such setting to wrest control of the session in an awkward exchange with Sebastian Vettel.
“I can assure you we don’t have a party mode,” said Hamilton when queried on the setting.
“I used the same mode from Q2 to end of Q3. So there was no extra mode that I engaged.”
However, Vettel wasn't buying it.
“So what were you doing before?” Vettel quipped, referring to the fact that Hamilton had been struggling to challenge for pole until the very end of qualifying.
“I was waiting to put a good lap in, wipe the smile off your face,” snapped Hamilton.
However, the 33-year-old may have some explaining to do after Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff's latest comments completely contradicted what Hamilton had said during that heated interchange with his great rival.
“There is a party mode in the car, we switched the party mode on in Q3.” confirmed Wolff while speaking to the media after qualifyin