There are now just four races to go until the end of the 2012 Formula One season, but with the championship balanced on a knife edge and several contenders still in the running for title glory, there should still be plenty of excitement, hopefully all the way to the final curtain in Brazil. Thanks to his efforts at the previous Korean Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel has catapulted to the top of the points table, though Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is just six points shy of the lead.

This weekend it is the Indian Grand Prix, which for its second year is again being held at the Hermann Tilke-designed Buddh International Circuit. The track stretches some 3.185 miles and drivers will be completing 60 laps during the race.

It proved to be a technically challenging track last year due to high ambient temperatures, some fast corners and notable elevation changes. One of the key features is its undulating back straight, along which the cars are flat-out for 15 seconds.

There are also some fast chicanes around the lap and the 180-degree, double-apex Turn 10/11, where drivers experience lateral forces of up to 4 g.

As in Korea two weeks ago, car setup at the Buddh International Circuit will be a delicate balance between straight-line speed and cornering grip. Paul Hembery, the director of Pirelli Motorsport, has confirmed that the tire supplier has nominated its P Zero Silver hard and P Zero Yellow soft compounds, the same used for 2011’s inaugural race.

So far during practice, last year’s winner, Sebastian Vettel, has proven quickest, though Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Jenson Button aren’t too far behind in the timesheet.

Going into tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s eventual race, Sebastian Vettel leads the points table with 215 points, just six ahead of Fernando Alonso. Third on the ladder is Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen, who has 167 points.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 367 points, but now Ferrari is second with 290 points, which is just ahead of McLaren’s 284 points.