Daniel Ricciardo also stepped into the retired Mark Webber's shoes with ease at Red Bull, outqualifying and outracing quadruple world champion Vettel and causing many to wonder if a 'new era' has dawned.
2008 world champion Hamilton, however, doesn't think so.
"You still have ... Vettel, myself, Alonso and Kimi," F1's 29-year-old world champion of 2008 said.
"It's not a new era," Hamilton insisted. "It's just a new wave of youngsters coming through."
Dane Magnussen, in particular, was hailed by none other than Hamilton's discoverer, former mentor Ron Dennis, as a future champion.
"He has all the ingredients necessary to win a world championship," Dennis said.
Hamilton may be unconvinced, but he did applaud the 21-year-old's debut podium in Melbourne -- a feat he himself achieved in a McLaren back in 2007.
"Kevin did a fantastic job," he said. "I'm very impressed with his job. Well done to him."