The Australian finished 14th and 15th in Friday's two sessions as he continues to try and get to grips with the MCL35M after making the switch from Renault to Woking over the winter.
Despite the team introducing upgrades to the car this weekend, Ricciardo still found it difficult to trust his machinery but failed to pin the blame on the updated parts.
"I don't think it was the aero package or anything," said Ricciardo. "In the morning I struggled just getting comfortable or confident.
"I was a bit off and we were just chasing some rear grip essentially, fighting the car and not having the confidence to push it. I think we addressed it in the afternoon and the car was better and we made a step.
"Clearly, a step is not good enough and we have got to make another one."
Ricciardo's fastest time of the day, a one minute 19.195secs, left the Australian 1.025s adrift of Lewis Hamilton who topped the timesheets.
"On paper, it doesn't look great but it was better in the afternoon," he added.
"Fifteenth, it's a second to first so it is so close. I think F1 is close this year amongst all teams but it is a track everyone knows so well so it is small margins.
"We certainly have to find some more tomorrow because if we are a second off, we may be back here. Some tenths to find."
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