Starting the sprint qualifying event 11th, Alonso made a stunning start to climb as high as fifth before slipping behind both McLaren drivers, meaning the two-time champion will start the British Grand Prix from seventh.
Alonso was stern in defence throughout the 17-lap event and speaking to Sky Sports, Ricciardo said: "I actually congratulate him for making it pretty exciting.
"His start was phenomenal and kept us on our toes. I think it is cool to see... there is always the question - I think with any sport - is age a factor?
"I think his racecraft this year has been probably the best on the grid, at least at times. It is cool to see he has still got a real passion and a drive for it and that you can keep doing it at a very high level."
Alonso 'did nothing wrong'
Lando Norris was the first to encounter the Spaniard's defensive tactics, with Alonso weaving back and forth down the Hangar Straight to break any slipstream potential for the British driver.
Sebastian Vettel, who battled with Alonso in the closing stages, labelled the weaving "unnecessary", but Norris saw nothing wrong with the tactic.
"There was obviously the weaving but when he was doing it I was never close enough for it to be dangerous," commented Norris.
"So I didn't think he did anything wrong, some people think he did but I don't think he did, it was fine.
"He just knows the limits of what he can do. It is good, it makes it more exciting for him, for me and for everyone watching so it was a good battle."
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