The German cruised to his 43rd race victory with a 9.9 second gap to Mercedes' runner-up Lewis Hamilton, with the Briton's new team mate, Valtteri Bottas, finishing third.
It was Vettel's fourth win for Ferrari and his first since the Singapore Grand Prix in September 2015. That win in Singapore was also the last time Ferrari had topped the podium but Vettel's victory at Albert Park underlined the huge leap in performance made by the team, who were encouraged by their cars' pace and reliability in winter testing.
Vettel, with four world titles under his belt and now a 43rd Grand Prix win, said:
Unbelievable, thank you everyone it’s a fantastic Grand Prix. Its what we needed, the whole team has been working so hard, the guys didn’t get much sleep here or in the factory and the car is so much fun to drive
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff told the BBC:
Today we were not quick enough and Sebastian was a deserved winner. We weren't quick enough, the tyre was degrading... it’s a good wake-up call
However, Wolff would not concede that the power balance has shifted significantly in F1: "After the first race you cannot talk about a new world order."
Vettel's 2007 championship-winning team mate Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen one behind.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Vettel beats Hamilton into second for opening win in Australia