Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton showed only the fourth result, and subject to the penalty for an unscheduled replacement of the transmission Briton in the race tomorrow will start ninth.
There will be a third and final practice session on Saturday before qualifying, when Hamilton will be trying to earn a record-extending 74th pole position.
It's Vettel's 200th career start, Hamilton's 100th start for Mercedes and Bottas's 100th Grand Prix start overall. I'll try and eke out every last bit of power and strength from this vehicle.
The German made a mistake on his first attempt to set a time and was initially second behind Kimi Raikkonen, but he leapfrogged his team-mate at the chequered flag with a sensational lap.
Lewis Hamilton, who travelled in to the weekend favorite for victory after noticed it sailed off by an illtimed digital safety auto two weeks ago at the season-opener at Melbourne, was just fourth fastest, 0.823 minutes away Raikkonen's most useful.
However, Hamilton will incurr a five-place grid penalty after Mercedes was forced to change his car's gearbox prior to qualifying and will start the race in ninth place.
"Tomorrow is the main thing, that is the time when we get the points".
That should theoretically allow him to go longer in the race before needing to pit, opening up strategic possibilities Mercedes might be able to exploit in the event of a safety vehicle, like Ferrari did in Australia.
Aside from the two title favourites, there will be a number of other storylines to keep an eye on, especially whether Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen can respond after missing out on podium places in Melbourne.
Heading into turn 2, he slid sideways off and thudded into the crash barriers, the left front wheel of his vehicle mangled.
At the start of qualifying, Romain Grosjean (Haas), Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin (both Williams), Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc (both Sauber) were eliminated from Q1.
At a circuit that is primed for overtaking, he'll have enough to make up ground on some of the drivers ahead of him.
"We completed our programme with both cars, which included longer runs at the end of the day and has presented us with useful data in more representative conditions from the upgrades we have brought here".
McLaren entered the season with high hopes after switching to Renault engines, following three troublesome seasons with Honda. "I was coming in at some speed, I could have killed them".