After a disappointing Q1 exit at Istanbul Park, McLaren fitted an entirely new Mercedes power unit in his car, forcing him to start from the back of the grid.
Ricciardo struggled to make his way up the field, unlike Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who was overtaking with ease from 19th on the grid.
In a bid to move up the order, Ricciardo switched to new tyres on Lap 22, 16 laps earlier than race leader Valtteri Bottas.
It looked like it was going to work out as he moved up to 11th, closing in on Esteban Ocon, before losing out to the two Alfa Romeos in the closing laps.
“It was always going to be a tricky race starting from the back,” Ricciardo said after the race. “We aimed for points. Carlos was able to get into the points. In the beginning we were going back and forth a bit and then he got me and was able to pull away. I just did not have that pace.
“I struggled at the beginning with the front tyres. So then we pitted and then struggled with the rears. Four laps into the race I was happy and comfortable with the balance. But it did not last. It was hard to get a balance and a grip that was sustainable in the race.
“It was crazy because some guys did the whole race or pretty much the whole race without stopping. Tricky conditions. We did not get as much out of it. So right now not too much to say. I know what I felt what was missing, but why or how I am not too sure. We will try to do an analysis on it.”
Ricciardo doesn’t think stopping early cost him a shot at points, rather how easily he degraded the tyres relative to his rivals.
“We pitted early because we were just not fast,” Ricciardo added. “The front tyres went away very quickly. We thought let’s put some new tyres on and maybe in the clear air we can be quicker. But even then we were not that much quicker. It took a long time for the group to come.
“Then it came but I only had four laps of good grip. And then it dropped dramatically. On the last 8 to 10 laps I was struggling with the rear. So different problems at different times. Not any answers for now. I do not think it was a strategic error that put us back today.
“We just went through the tyres too quickly. I was trying to manage it and not be too aggressive but I still found a way to kill them. So we have some homework to do to try to understand how we can do better in these tricky conditions.”