Ricciardo has underperformed at his new team, with him often trailing his team-mate, Lando Norris, by several tenths of a second per lap so far this season.
The Aussie himself has admitted that he has struggled to adapt to the McLaren MCL35M.
Meanwhile, the Woking-based team have thrown their support behind Ricciardo, insisting he just needs more time to adjust to the characteristics of their car.
In an interview with Motorsport Magazine, Herbert described Ricciardo’s opening half-a-season with McLaren as a “shocker.”
“Daniel on the other hand has been a shocker,” Herbert said.
“We never expected him to struggle so much. I can empathise with him and it’s terrible, especially when it’s been so long and you still haven’t found the answer.
“Still, we know how good he is and he knows it too.”
Continuing, Herbert said some racing drivers’ talent can evaporate without any logical reason – such as a big crash – and he suggested this might be the case for Ricciardo.
“I’ve heard Daniel’s problems are brake-related, but it’s also down to aerodynamics,” he said.
“If it’s already causing us headaches, think what it’s like for him. But what’s happened? He’s not too old, he hasn’t had a bad crash. There have been plenty of drivers for whom it [their talent] just evaporated.
“I go back to Jean [Alesi] again: He was the ‘next big thing’ and yet he only won one Grand Prix. It didn’t work for him, with all his natural talent.
“The problem is that if it doesn’t get better, the rumours start, and once that starts and the tornado accelerates, you’re just a passenger.”