Button described the rainy race in Shanghai as his best win [GALLO/GETTY]

Defending world champion Jenson Button shot to the top of the drivers' standings as he led a McLaren one-two at a rain-soaked Chinese Grand Prix.

Teammate and predecessor as champion Lewis Hamilton came second as the two Britons overcame disappointment in qualifying to outshine the pole-lying Red Bulls.

Hamilton, who carved his way through the field from 12th on lap four to finish 1.530 seconds behind, was reprimanded for his aggressive drive after a post-race probe into a pit lane clash with Sebastian Vettel, who was also told off by stewards.

The 30-year-old Button, who took the lead in the overall standings after celebrating his second win of the season and ninth of his career, yelled "We really earned that one!" on his team radio as he crossed the line.

"For me it's my best victory," said Button, who had started fifth on the grid.

"It was very tough conditions and the great thing is our pace was good. It wasn't just the luck of calling the weather."

Jump start

German Nico Rosberg got his second successive third place for Mercedes behind the two Britons with Spain's Fernando Alonso, who earned a drive-through penalty for a jump start, finishing fourth for Ferrari.

Chinese GP result

1 J Button (GBR) McLaren
2 L Hamilton (GBR) McLaren
3 N Rosberg (GER) Mercedes
4 F Alonso (ESP) Ferrari
5 R Kubica (POL) Renault
6 S Vettel (GER) Red Bull
7 V Petrov (RUS) Renault
8 M Webber (AUS) Red Bull
9 F Massa (BRA) Ferrari
10 M Schumacher (GER) Mercedes
11 A Sutil (GER) Force India
12 R Barrichello (BRA) Williams
13 J Alguersuari (ESP) Toro Rosso
14 H Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus
15 N Huelkenberg (GER) Williams
16 B Senna (BRA) HRT
17 K Chandhok (IND) HRT

Pole-sitter Vettel, who won the last race in Malaysia and here last year for Red Bull, could only manage sixth behind Robert Kubica's Renault, leaving the Shanghai race still without a repeat winner after seven years.

"Today was very chaotic and in the end to take sixth can be quite important," said Vettel.

"Obviously, our main competitors finished ahead, so that's not nice. It was a very difficult race for us."

Renault's Vitaly Petrov passed both Michael Schumacher of Mercedes and the Red Bull of Mark Webber on the last few laps to take an impressive seventh place in the Russian's first completed Formula One race.

Alonso's premature start, a safety car for a three-car pile up on the first corner, heavy rain and another safety car later in the race contributed to an entertaining but chaotic race.

Nine wins

Button, who also won the second race of the season in Australia and now has nine Grands Prix win in his career, goes top of the drivers' standings with 60 points, 10 clear of Rosberg with Hamilton and Alonso third and a point further back.

Hamilton showed through his uncompromising clash with Vettel at both the entrance and exit to the pit lane that he was by no means cowed by criticism of his driving in Malaysia.

The Briton's drive included an audacious move to pass both Vettel and Adrian Sutil at one corner and a thrilling battle with seven-times world champion Schumacher.

Button overtook Rosberg on the hairpin before the start-finish straight and made his first pit stop immediately afterward, still getting back out in front just before the second safety car on lap 20 bunched up the field again.

Source: Agencies