Hamilton's seventh pole position at Albert Park came in scintillating fashion.
This season marks the first time two four-time world champs go head-to-head in Formula One.
"My heart is racing".
"I am always striving for perfection and that was as close as I can get".
"I woke up this morning happy because it's race day and it's been too long since we raced so, already before the race I was just happy and smiling", said Ricciardo. "It's a long wait and in the week leading up to this race, you talk so much about the race and it's like, let's just do it". Kimi Raikkonen edged out his German teammate by 0.01s to take the front-row starting spot. Hamilton's initial lap seemed like an achievable target for his rivals.
Third fastest was Vettel, who was more pleased with his auto than he was on Friday.
It's not often I sit behind someone for most of the race but it's a tight track and one of the more tricky ones for passing. I've never seen him as angry as he was last night.
"I don't know what Lewis could have done with clear air at the end but I think we definitely had Ferrari's pace".
"So I know they are loving it, they are in a good position, but everyone else is hating it".
Ricciardo, along with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, opted to complete Q2 on the Supersoft tyres, as opposed to the Ultrasoft compound preferred by their rivals. The Dutchman almost lost the rear of his Red Bull on his fast lap, but his teammate Daniel Ricciardo was further down in fifth.
Daniel Ricciardo expressed frustration at both his grid penalty and one-lap performance as he prepares to line up from eighth place for his home race in Australia.
Things got worse when, after passing Nico Hulkenberg early in a trademark banzai move, Ricciardo got stuck behind the Haas of Romain Grosjean with teammate Max Verstappen just ahead also trapped behind the other vehicle belonging to the American squad.
Not everything went to plan for Mercedes with Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas crashing into the wall on turn two early in the third and final qualifying session prompting a red flag.
It means the pair will start Sunday's race on the red-banded compound, an aspect Ricciardo hopes will prove fruitful in assisting his recovery towards the front.
That incident - and an expected five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change - means Bottas will start from 15th and his progress through the field will be worth monitoring on Sunday as he tries to restore some pride.