The Australian struggled for front grip in the first part of the race and, after initially running second, was passed by both team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
But after his second pit-stop on lap 33 of 56, Ricciardo reeled in Verstappen and was able to challenge for third place late on before settling for fourth.
"That first stint was frustrating," said Ricciardo.
"We couldn't keep on top of the front tyres, we killed them quite quickly and got eaten up by the others.
"I was trying to hang on obviously, but I don't think it was a fight I was ever going to come out winning.
"The second pit stop allowed us then to make a change. It came to life.
"We gave it some front wing, got the front tyres working, and we were a lot of quicker."
Ricciardo admitted he was frustrated not to be able to pass Verstappen for third, with the Dutchman struggling for grip while behind the lapped Haas of Romain Grosjean late on.
"We got close to Max and we put ourselves in his position, struggling with grip," said Ricciardo.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Ricciardo 'came to life' after in-race change