Ricciardo dropped out of Q2 and struggled for performance throughout the weekend at the Losail International Circuit.
A fuel system error ruined his chances of a strong result but Ricciardo conceded that he still has to adapt to the “McLaren style”.
“Ultimately these kinds of long and medium-speed corners are where our car is challenged the most,” Ricciardo said. “That is where the McLaren style is the one and only style to get it through those corners quickly. I think that is where Lando is definitely doing a better job in those corners.
“I am still not quite nailing it. It is the way you enter the corner and combine the brake with the turn in. I’m trying to get the car to do something and it still turns but it does not get through the corner as quick. It is just half a tenth but half a tenth in these long corners add up to three or four-tenths.
“So it is really just that. It is definitely a weakness of the car, but ultimately still the weakness of me not being able to get the car working well in limited areas.”
Since Ricciardo’s win at the Italian Grand Prix, he’s only scored points on two occasions.
McLaren’s decline in form has seen it slip to 39.5 points behind Ferrari in the race for third in the constructors’ championship.
The Australian says it’s been a “downward spiral” since the United States Grand Prix.
“But unfortunately, since Austin, it has been a bit of a downward spiral. I don’t want to be too negative with that,” he added. “This weekend I don’t think I sucked, I just missed half a tenth in some of these key corners, and of course, that adds up.
“Three and a half tenths and qualifying is not what I want. Gone are the days where I am seven or eight tenths off. I have moved on from there but there’s clearly some work still to do on some circuit-specific ones.”
Ricciardo feels he’s made significant progress since the start of the year but still has work to do to get on level terms with his twammate
“I can see the difference in the driving, and why I am running into some of these problems,” Ricciardo explained. “If it was easy, I would’ve perfected it already. I think Lando is driving very well. Any questions about him he has proved to everyone this year that he is top-level. But also having the three years with the same car has helped him dial that in.
“I definitely think I’ve improved my style from the beginning of the year. But there’s clearly yet another step to make in and some of the sorts of tracks where he is more on top of it than I am.”