The Australian will line up 10th for tonight's race, two spots and a tenth-of-a-second down on team-mate Lando Norris.
“We didn't leave a whole lot on the table, if you know what I mean, but ultimately I think we just lacked those extra few tenths to get further up there,” Ricciardo said.
“The competition is so tight, and obviously everyone's driving well.
“From my side, for sure there's a tenth or something there in the car, but I don't feel like I left three/four tenths on the table today.
“I think all weekend it's been pretty comfortable and ultimately I think that was fairly representative of our pace this afternoon.”
Ricciardo's take on the session was reflected by that of Norris, who mustered a time just 0.130s over his race-winning team-mate.
“I don't think it was too bad in the end of the day,” he ventured.
“I don't think we could have done a lot better.
“That's what we had; just weren't quite quick enough in the end, compared to Ferrari and AlphaTauri, which is a little bit frustrating but that's just the way it is.
“So I don't think we could have done a much better job, we are where we deserve to be.”
Norris' progress to the final part of qualifying came despite aborting a final fly lap in Qualifying 2.
Having taken to the circuit in preparation, he was told to box at the end of his warmup lap.
“We had an issue with getting the fuelling for his final run, and that's why we had to abort the run in order to make sure we get the car back,” admitted team boss Andreas Seidl.
“It's something we analyse at the moment [to find out] what happened in detail and of course, need to make sure that doesn't happen again.
“Luckily his first lap that he put in Quali 2 was enough to progress to Quali 3, so it didn't factor later in qualifying but also it's something we need to be on top of.”
McLaren heads into Sunday's race fourth in the constructors' championship, having slipped two points behind Ferrari following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weekends ago.
The French Grand Prix, the seventh round of the 2021 season, gets underway at 23:00 AEST.