Ricciardo qualified a disappointing 16th at Istanbul Park – his second Q1 elimination of the season.
The Australian was one of the first drivers to set his final lap in Q1 and with the track ever drying, his rivals improved, leaving Ricciardo in the drop-zone.
Ricciardo put his early exit down to a lack of speed on Pirelli’s C4 soft tyre.
“There was still some damp spots and I think it’s obviously getting better and better,” Ricciardo said. “In the perfect world, you want to be the last car but that’s not always possible. All that being said, I wasn’t really quick enough on the soft tyre. I struggled a bit on it yesterday, not crazy, but there was still some work to do on it and obviously, we had two sets in Q1 but still didn’t really feel like I was able to get my teeth stuck into it.
“I’d put that more over than a bit of timing or whatever. There were yellow flags in Turn 1 and you get out of sync and you miss a lap and this and that. Of course, there’s a bit of that going on but a lot of that was out of our control as well. Nothing really obvious other than not having the speed.”
McLaren teammate Lando Norris couldn’t replicate his recent qualifying heroics, managing eighth in Q3.
“No, I don’t think it’s anything to do with downforce or may it does and we don’t realise it,” Norris explained. “I think it’s just the nature of the track, the types of corners you have, more in line here as it was in Zandvoort with these longer apex corners which we struggle in.
“I think it was expected, not a surprise for us to struggle a bit more but of course, always when you struggle you never want to believe it until you see it in a way. Not a surprise I think.”
Norris will start the race from seventh due to Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalty for an engine change.