Ricciardo had struggled to get on top of the MCL35M since his winter switch from Renault but outpaced team-mate, Lando Norris, across the weekend in Barcelona.
After battling with the Red Bull of Sergio Perez and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz for much of the race, Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1: “I had some good problems.
"The start was good and that got me in front of a couple of faster cars and that meant I then had to defend pretty much the whole race.
“With Checo [Perez] I was doing as much as I could for as long as I could and then obviously he got me and then I had Carlos the last quarter of the race or so.
“Obviously, we didn’t have the pace today, but it was nice to at least hold off a faster car and just put a better weekend together.
“Personally I’m happy, we obviously still have some to find in the car and in myself but it was a smoother weekend and definitely the best one of the year this far.”
Ricciardo added that his improved pace was not down to any changes made to the car, but was more a result of him feeling more at ease with the team and his increased understanding of the differences between the MCL35M and the R.S.20 he drove last year.
He explained: “We did a little bit to the car but it’s really just been about me and adjusting, the way you attack the corner, where you brake, how you brake, when you come on throttle, all these little details, it’s just fine [details].
“Although it’s fast, [the car] is proving a little tricky at the moment and if I am just over-stepping it, then those little mistakes become costly and it throws off the balance for the rest of the corner.
“So, just figuring that out a bit more, and I think that came with more laps in the car and just a circuit I know back to front.”
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.