That is the view of Frederic Vasseur, the Alfa Romeo team boss.
“I’m not surprised because Mercedes also did it last year,” the Frenchman told the RTBF broadcaster.
“It’s not indicative of what the season will be like. Melbourne is a unique playground.
“Last year, qualifying was the same but it was Vettel who won and he dominated for 7-8 races,” Vasseur added.
2016 world champion Nico Rosberg also thinks Ferrari should not be counted out of the fight after a single qualifying session.
“Ferrari was always two to three tenths faster than the others with fuel in testing, so they are the favourites despite this qualifying defeat,” he told Kolner Express newspaper.
“But the pressure on Sebastian is enormous because of his catastrophic season in 2018,” Rosberg added.
Nonetheless, the entire paddock in Melbourne was shocked on Saturday by Mercedes’ qualifying dominance.
“I think everybody is, probably even Mercedes,” said Vettel.
“I think in the race it could be closer but also their long runs looked very strong and ours looked ok but not as special as theirs,” he added.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said: “I think Ferrari expected more, but don’t forget that Mercedes is always very strong here.”
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto agreed, commenting: “It’s not the ideal track for us, but we have 20 more qualifyings and 21 more races.
“The game is long and we are ready to play it,” he told Sky Italia.