Norris stayed on slick tyres as rain fell heavily at the Sochi Autodrom in the dying stages of the race, eventually sliding off the track at turn five and finishing seventh after looking certain for a maiden grand prix win.
The British driver had qualified on pole and looked in control of the race after battling past Carlos Sainz following the Ferrari's turn-two move on the first lap for the lead.
Ricciardo, though, sees encouragement from the form shown by the team.
"From a team point of view, the more I stand here and talk the more I understand Lando's race was a bit of a disaster at the end," Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1.
"It could have been a first or a second by the sound of it. From a team, there is encouragement with performance.
"There could have been more points today but we will keep looking at it.
"Personally, some moments were good, some not so. I am still eager to find some speed in the car, I am not sure it was as comfortable a weekend as Monza, a bit tricky and a bit compromised on Friday and I don't think we ever got back on top of it, so we will keep working on it."
On how the decision to switch to intermediates was made, Ricciardo explained: "Normally we are the best judge for that because we are the ones feeling the track.
"But I am not speaking about Lando's situation but for me, it was clear and in hindsight, one lap earlier was even better.
"We still probably didn't perfect it but it was the right call."
Ricciardo start was "too good"
Ricciardo eventually finished fourth to limit the damage to McLaren's championship race with Ferrari but the Australian looked set for a strong finish early on when he was able to fend off Hamilton with what was seemingly relative ease.
"It probably always looks more comfortable than it is," insisted Ricciardo.
"I think it is tough here because it is such a long run to turn one so the launch was in a way too good.
"At one point I had to lift because I was going to lose the slipstream, so I lifted to tuck back in and then all the good work was undone. Maybe on another circuit that launch was more beneficial but that was good.
"I lost positions but I got Alonso and Lewis back so it was net-even in the end. Defended a bit and some good passes, [Sergio] Perez got me in the end. Some good moments and some not so good. Keen to keep working on it."
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