"Friday's paint one picture but you're never sure what is going to happen", he claimed.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who will line up third on the grid having started on pole for the last three races, said that Mercedes bouncing back in Barcelona was no big surprise.
"Q3 I think we [Verstappen] both put in a good lap on the supers, which I don't think was our preferred tyre, just the way the vehicle is feeling this weekend I felt the softs were better so that is why I went for them in the second part of Q3". I chipped away at my lap time by a few hundredths but it wasn't enough and they put in a few belters at the end. [I] felt like if you got lucky you could put in a blistering lap but yeah, probably one out of five I could make it happen and the four other laps I was sliding and yeah, struggling to stay on.
Nearly as painful was the narrowest of margins by which he lost out to his team mate, meaning Ricciardo will start in sixth place - one spot behind Verstappen.
But Ricciardo sits a position higher than Verstappen in the standings after five dramatic races.
"There is potential but it's just hard to extract consistently at the moment, so we have some more to learn with this new package".More news: 'Avengers: Infinity War' stays strong with US$61 million third weekend
"It's another corner where you scrub speed".
"We just don't have that power mode for Q3", Max Verstappen bemoaned.
Like his team mate, Verstappen was also unsure how things stood in terms of which tyre compounds were performing better here this weekend, or what the strategy will be for the race.
"He's had a hard start to the season, so starting a new chapter in Europe I think will really settle him and send him on his way".
Speaking after qualifying, he said: "I still don't know what the faster tyre is to be honest". So I hope from now onwards, it just goes in that direction, because I don't think I need to do anything different.
"Personally, I'd like to see him in a Ferrari". I don't think many people will actually choose the Supersoft [for the race]. Over one lap maybe you could go a bit faster, but in the long run it would just fall apart.