Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel has made it clear from the outset he intends continuing on his Formula One rampage.
The Red Bull star led the first practice session at Albert Park ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel stopped the clock in the first of two 90-minute sessions with a best lap of one minute 27.211 seconds.
He was just .078 ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, but the psychological advantage was clearly greater.
Australian Mark Webber in the other Red Bull could manage only fifth fastest, with a time almost half a second behind his German teammate.
Ferrari, though, appeared well on the way to fulfilling their prophecy that their car this year is vastly superior to last year's model, in which Fernando Alonso narrowly conceded the world title to Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion who made a controversial move from McLaren to Mercedes this year, is obviously comfortable with the move.
Hamilton was only three tenths of a second off the pace and fourth on the timesheets.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was given early motivation with his seventh place in initial practice.
Wedged in the middle of the top 10 was Finnish former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen took his Lotus to sixth place, four spots ahead of his teammate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean.
Jenson Button, the McLaren driver who has won three of the past four Australian races, was ninth and two spots ahead of the British outfit's Mexican rookie recruit Sergio Perez.
Australian Torro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo had to settle for 18th place and conceded the early honours to teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Ricciardo, who has vowed to make his mark this season to earn a promotion to a leading team, finished the session two tenths of a second behind the Frenchman.