Sebastian Vettel is 4/6 with Victor Chandler to win the Australian Grand Prix after a scintillating qualifying performance put him on pole for the second successive season in Melbourne
The reigning Formula One world champion smashed Melbourne’s Albert Park record with a lap of one minute 23.529secs, a staggering 0.778secs clear of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who joins him on the front row.
Not even team-mate Mark Webber could get anywhere near Vettel in similar machinery, as on home turf the Australian finished a distant 0.866secs off the pace, a chasm in F1 terms.
When you add in the fact Vettel did not even press the KERS button that provides an additional power boost, so potentially could have gone half a second quicker, it makes his car an awesome prospect even at this early stage.
Asked if he was surprised at the gap to the rest of the field, the 23-year-old German offered a typical smile and replied: "Yes. I’ve said before, it was a long winter and we’ve tried to find our way on these new (Pirelli) tyres which wasn’t always easy.
"So coming here, we’ve been surprised at how good the tyres have worked. We should be fine for tomorrow.
"We were a little afraid after the degradation we saw in Barcelona (in the final two tests), so that’s a positive. But car-wise we came here and had a good feeling, although we never knew where we would be."
Sounding a note of caution, in particular after failing to finish last year’s race when he slid off the track due to a wheel issue, Vettel said: "The gap now might appear to be very big, but it’s a long season.
"A lot of things can happen, and today no-one has scored any points. Pole position is, of course, the best position to be in, so I’m very happy with that, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and let’s see how we get on tomorrow."
If Vettel’s time was a shock, so was seeing Hamilton take second spot on the grid when you consider the concerns aired a fortnight ago in Barcelona after the final test and the Englishman is 4/1 for race victory.