The team fell short by three points to Williams, having to settle for eighth in the standings, after Yuki Tsunoda finished eighth at the Yas Marina Circuit, whilst Ricciardo was 11th.
As Ricciardo pointed out, however, it was only a few races previously that AlphaTauri was staring at an ignominious last, only lifting itself off the foot after the 19th of this year's 22 races in Mexico.
“Obviously, I wasn't on board for the first part of the season,” said Ricciardo, referring to the fact he was not handed a seat until the 11th race in Hungary following Nyck de Vries' sacking.
“But the way the team turned it around, with the updates, and then I would like to think Yuki (Tsunoda) and myself pushed each other a little bit, and that's positive for the team.
“There's a lot the team can be excited about moving into next year.
“Of course, seventh would have been nice, but a few races ago we were talking about not finishing 10th, so seventh would have been a bonus.
“But it gives us a little bit more to fight for next year.”
Ricciardo had started a lowly 15th after a disappointing qualifying, in comparison to Tsunoda giving the team hope of seventh in the constructors' due to him lining up sixth on the grid.
The 34-year-old's hopes of a top-1o finish were severely hampered early on when he was forced to pit early due to a tear-off visor getting caught in a brake duct.
“I need to see how much it affected us because for a two-stop (strategy) we would have probably pitted a little later,” assessed Ricciardo.
“I don't know if it put us in a little bit of traffic or not, but it was not bad. We still recovered well and had a decent race.
“Obviously, there are always ifs, whats, and maybes. One more lap and we would have had (Lance) Stroll, or certainly we would have had his DRS and had a chance at him, so one lap away from a potential point, which is not too bad from where we started.”
The race also marked the end of Franz Tost's reign as team principal for the last 18 years since its birth as Toro Rosso in 2006.
Six years later, Ricciardo enjoyed his first full season in F1, spending two seasons under Tost's tutelage before switching to Red Bull.
“Shoutout to Franz,” said Ricciardo in tribute. “He's been a big part of the team and obviously, very early in my career, he played a big role.
“It was nice to be able to spend his last races together. I wish him well, and I know he'll be missed by the whole team.
“Even here, everyone is celebrating him, and all he wanted to do was go racing, so it shows the person he is.
“I hope he enjoys his time away from the track as much as he enjoyed it racing week after week, with the same amazing passion.”