Norris qualified in eighth position, but in Sunday's race after Mercedes driver George Russell crashed into the side of Sainz on the first corner of the first lap the field was thrown into disarray.
This then kept the McLaren driver outside the points for much of the race until a late charge got him up field including multiple overtakes into Turn 1 to end up in the points in P6.
In an interview afterwards, Norris said he had enjoyed his battle up field during the race: "A good race! Races like these are more enjoyable compared to just being on your own, even though it's a lot tougher.
"It was very enjoyable, especially the race with Fernando (Alonso). I had a tricky start, getting caught behind an incident ahead. We also picked up damage halfway through the race, so I'm very happy to have finished P6 today.
"We came away with the best result possible and picked up some decent points," Norris added.
Teammate Ricciardo started the race in 17th position and ended up finishing P16 but simply could not make the same inroads as Norris.
"I hoped today was going to be better," said Ricciardo afterwards. "I really thought after yesterday we had a bit more to show but it was really tough today.
"I could tell from early on in the race that it was going to be tricky. We unfortunately just didn't have the grip. I couldn't really push the car like I could see the others around me doing, so it was just a struggle.
"We'll keep our chin up and try to find a way. Obviously, days like this are pretty painful to try to deal with and understand as we put a lot of effort in but didn't get rewarded. We'll keep going," he added.
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl felt his team used a decent strategy to get some points in the Constructors' Championship battle and would look at what went wrong and make corrections for the upcoming weekend's race in Mexico City.
"An eventful race here at the Circuit of the Americas, in front of this enormous crowd," Seidl said. "The team made some good strategy calls, executed great pit-stops coupled with a stellar drive from Lando, including some great overtaking in the final stage of the race, which secured us an encouraging P6 and gave us good points in our Constructors' Championship battle.
"On Daniel's side we struggled to extract a similar performance, which didn't allow him to progress in the race. We'll study that in the next few days and work out where we can improve.
"Thanks to the team here, and back home, plus our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for all of their work. Our congratulations go to Red Bull Racing on securing the Constructors' Championship. Five days and we go again in Mexico," Seidl added.