But a strong strategy and improved performance saw the seven-time race winner promoted to ninth by the end of the 66-lap race, leaving him "relatively" happy with the weekend overall.
"I got into the points. I think that was important," said Ricciardo. "I think the objective was even one point.
"The team was saying to try and even just get 10th because that point might do us well later in the season but for me, I am not just racing for one point.
"I managed to get two, better than one. I think it was a productive day, we had a good start, some good battles and I just understand the car more. I leave happier than I did after qualifying so I will take the positives from that."
The Spanish Grand Prix takes place this weekend to complete the first double-header of the F1 season, with Ricciardo hoping for a smoother ride on more familiar territory.
Asked about his expectations, he replied: "Another different story. I think Barcelona should be a bit easier and a bit more like Bahrain where I am able to get up to speed a bit quicker.
"It is a track we are familiar with so things like this, I am not going to expect anything but I hope it should be a bit easier and I can show some true speed."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.